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MNI: EU Sends Firm Reminder Ahead Of May Brexit Speech

MNI (London)
By Tara Oakes
     BRUSSELS (MNI) - Headline-grabbing announcements from UK Prime Minister
Theresa May won't be enough to make Brexit talks progress on their own, a senior
European Union official said in Brussels Thursday, claiming official position
papers would be needed as well.
     May will deliver a much anticipated Brexit-themed speech in Florence on
Friday and many expect her to solidify the UK's current position on Brexit and,
perhaps, make a financial settlement offer to the EU.
     However, it appears Brussels will need more than just words from May, with
a more formal statement of intentions needed, according to a source close to the
Brussels talks.
     "Anything that is going to be stated in Mrs May's speech in the context of
negotiations still needs to be translated into formal papers and formal
positions from the UK," the source said. She added that it was still "too early
to tell" whether sufficient progress will be declared in October to launch
parallel talks on future relationship.
     Official Brexit talks between the EU team led by Michel Barnier and the
UK's team led by Brexit Secretary David Davis will resume next week in the wake
of May's announcement.
     But all eyes could be on Tallinn, where May intends to bump up her Brexit
vision yet again during a dinner of EU leaders on Sept 28.
     The dinner, originally intended to be informal, has grown in importance and
will now have an official agenda arranged by European Council President Tusk --
but that agenda will not include Brexit, the source said. She added that it was
unclear if May would get a hearing.
     "If Prime Minister May would come with her own agenda and her own questions
to heads of state and government this is not our intention," the source said.
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email:
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MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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