October 16, 2019 / 12:24 PM / a month ago

At best, EU summit can grant tentative approval of any Brexit deal

FILE PHOTO: A British Union Jack flag is seen during a plenary session on preparations for the next EU leaders' summit, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Any approval by European Union leaders at their Thursday-Friday summit in Brussels of a last-minute Brexit deal could only be conditional on the British House of Commons approving it later, three diplomats with the bloc said.

“It’s clear there can only be, at most, a political agreement tomorrow or Friday. We have not seen any texts. This is going to take more time,” said one senior EU diplomat. “I cannot imagine leaders tomorrow being able to say more than: ‘This doesn’t look too bad and let’s work with the UK to set out more details’.”

A second senior EU diplomat said of the talks in Brussels and a planned Saturday session of the House of Commons: “If things go well, the sword of Damocles remains, with the decision of the British Parliament.”

A third diplomat added that, should there be an eleventh-hour agreement in technical talks between British and EU going on in Brussels, the summit could offer London a short delay to its departure date currently due on Oct.31 to polish the detail.

Without any agreement, the bloc would entertain a longer lag, the diplomat said.

Reporting by Marine Strauss, Gabriela Baczynska and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by John Chalmers

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