Manfred Weber, the chairman of the European People’s party, arrives at Downing Street for talks with Theresa May [Image: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images].

It seems Theresa May and David Davis are using a classic Tory tactic to get past the intransigence of the EU’s attitude to the Brexit financial settlement: Divide and rule.

Tiring of negotiating with Michel Barnier, they are instead working on representatives of the 27 other EU member states individually – presumably in the hope that they will settle for less money as single states than as a bloc.

The inevitable result, if they succeed or fail, is that the other EU governments will feel that the Tories in the UK tried to make fools of them. That makes the UK’s economic future after Brexit much less certain.

But that’s Tories for you – they live for their own short-term gain and couldn’t care less about the consequences for others.

Theresa May is close to offering a deal on money that would unlock the Brexit negotiations, according to the head of Europe’s centre-right MEPs, who said he had received “positive messages” during a meeting in Downing Street on Wednesday.

Manfred Weber, a German leader of the European People’s party (EPP) who is also a close ally of chancellor Angela Merkel, said he had witnessed a substantial shift in the British approach which might now allow EU leaders to move on to the next stage of negotiations.

The meeting was part of a deliberate strategy by Downing Street to open up direct channels to EU27 politicians rather than relying solely on chief negotiator Michel Barnier, whom they blame for what the government regards as a hardening in Brussels’ approach in recent months.

European leaders increasingly believe that the UK government now recognises that there is a need for an agreement in principle to settle up to €60bn or so, even if the fine detail and payment itself is deferred for later in talks.

Source: Theresa May ‘close to offering financial deal to progress Brexit negotiations’ | Politics | The Guardian

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