A timeline for the coming days which will determine whether the UK can move forward to discuss trade with the EU post Brexit.

Phase Time

British Prime Minister Theresa May wants the EU to open the second phase of Brexit negotiations concerning relations after Britain's withdrawal on 30 March 2019.

The EU will only do that if there is "sufficient progress" in agreeing "divorce" terms, notably on three key issues: a financial settlement, guaranteed rights for EU citizens in Britain and avoiding a "hard border" on the island of Ireland.


As part of the "choreography" for a political deal, the EU set the British Prime Minister an "absolute deadline" of Monday 4 December to provide new offers in time for the other EU leaders to approve a move to Phase II at a summit of the EU-27 on Friday 15 December.

Mrs May is pushing for a simultaneous, reciprocal guarantee from the EU of a soft transition and future trade deal, which she may use to show Britons what her compromises have secured.

The EU wants to have firm British offers which the 27 can discuss before leaders commit.

Monday, 4 December

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meet Guy Verhofstadt and his Brexit team from the European Parliament. The legislature, which must ratify any withdrawal treaty, insists EU judges have the final say on enforcing citizens' rights.

Mrs May joins Mr Juncker and Mr Barnier for lunch at the EU executive's Berlaymont headquarters. The plan is to sign a joint declaration on progress so far in the talks.

Mrs May meets European Council President Donald Tusk, who will chair next week's summit. Mr Juncker is the EU's chief executive while Mr Tusk can speak for its member states.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will make a public statement on Phase I of the Brexit negotiations in the afternoon.

Wednesday, 6 December

Mr Juncker chairs the weekly European Commission meeting at which Mr Barnier will update them on progress. The Commission could then say there is sufficient progress to move to Phase II.

EU-27 envoys will meet to prepare a formal decision on sufficient progress which will be taken at the EU-27 summit on 15 December and work on draft negotiating guidelines for a future trade deal.

Monday, 11 December

EU-27 sherpas, representing the 27 capitals, will meet to prepare for the summit.

Tuesday, 12 December

EU affairs ministers of the EU-27 meet to prepare for the summit.

Thursday, 14 December

Mrs May attends a routine EU summit in Brussels. Defence, social affairs, foreign affairs and migration are on the agenda.

Friday, 15 December

After Mrs May has left, the EU-27 leaders will hold a Brexit summit. They could take one comprehensive decision on Phase II or break it down into separate ones on the transition and future ties.


An outline of an EU transition offer may be ready, under which Britain retains all rights except voting in the bloc, and meets all of its obligations until the end of 2020.


After agreeing their negotiating terms, the EU-27 may be ready to open talks with London on a free trade pact that Brussels likens to one it has with Canada.