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Bruno Waterfield @BrunoBrussels
, 30 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Some #Brexit notes on where it’s at
EU gearing up for Brexit endgame but May will not get a chance to discuss Chequers/future relationship with all other European leaders until a final summit in Nov (or even Dec)
Salzburg summit in 3 weeks - May will address all 28 but with no discussion 
Completely separately Macron is pushing for a full EU28 discussion on future of Europe…
October 18 summit will also follow format of May first then separate EU27 discussion
Bilateral contacts expected to intensify Sep into Oct, especially between Macron, Merkel and May
No date for November as yet - could even be Halloween but week beginning 12th most likely
Focus on EU side switches away from Barnier to “political track” which “now involves leaders”. A50 process “self extinguishing:”
Emerging plan of using the sequence of summits, Salzburg, October and November to directly involve HOSG and sherpas. Idea in November - which is a special Brexit summit is to have "joint and European Council product"
EU neg mandate expected to be updated in advance of Oct summit
EU & Whitehall worried that Tory conference comes between Salzburg and Oct summit “potentially complicating the negotiations which is why we will need Nov”
Major concern that ERG will kill Ireland backstop compromise
Barnier will drift to sidelines over autumn because November summit deal “needs to be a European Council product”
EU27 discussion on Brexit will not just be “state of play” from Barnier but will start to involve them directly in coming up with proposals
There is still discussion over how it will work - all uncharted territory with big complication of unstable British politics
The withdrawal agreement expected to be decision at 27 with the withdrawing state, leaders will endorse but then has to be ratified
Political declaration on future relationship will “joint product EU27 and UK”
European side wants to help May 
“There must not be the impression that EU dictates and May just signs on the dotted line”
On the political declaration on future relationship, EU waiting for indication from UK for “degree of description”
The big worry on European side is “in realm of UK domestic politics”
“The European Council has always found words but difficulty is Britain’s domestic dynamics”
Backstop is only issue that could collapse talks
UK cannot itself put forward the likely compromise due to the domestic situation "that would mean cabinet stalemate before anything was even on the table”
Government must accept a NI specific backstop 
Barnier cannot amend the fundamentals of existing text but can/might redraft to give it a “different presentation” - de-dramatise
EU and Whitehall both fear that internal Tory politics at party conference in Birmingham could kill a backstop compromise
Fears that @mogg_jacob and ERG are “on manoeuvres”
What’s the compromise?
It’s the famous “Siamese twins” or “backstop and bridge”
UK agreement on a NI-specific all weather backstop alongside/parallel to EU agreeing that a separate UK-wide deal to avoid hard border will be part of trade negotiation in the 21-month transition period
Keeps UK in the same customs arrangement via a different route. Described as “bridge for UK and backstop for NI” where with both operating identical rules until final trade arrangements ready
Problem with existing UK proposals on customs is it requires the EU to change its model. Changing EU customs code would take “at least a decade”
If there is a deal in Oct/Nov the European Parliament is seen as “predictable” with the question “what happens in Westminster” as the biggest downside risk
EU does not see the Chequers white paper as “stable politically”
The degree of irrationality in the internal political dynamics of the Conservative Party is the biggest risk factor,” a senior EU source said…
A footnote on Macron element
It cuts both ways. He wants a deal so keeping Britain in a second ring around inner circle of EU/eurozone as part of wider European structure of alliances forming concentric circles
But he is keenly aware that the (already divided) inner circle must not be undermined by a deal that is too good (although some suspect he would like to push Poland and some central and East Europeans out to join UK too)
So to conclude
Two important dates in next 3 to 4 weeks, Salzburg and Birmingham Tory conference
Will Salzburg, possibly via the Macon discussion (if had and no decision yet), give May something on security aspects of Brexit to show where conference that she's getting somewhere?
Will Birmingham kill Chequers white paper (which though far form endorsed on EU side did make major and acknowledged concessions) or tie May's hands on backstop?
There is some optimism that a deal is in the offing but Britain's internal political dynamics are the big question mark /end
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