Brexit talks "should accelerate", Juncker and May agree

Catherine Neilan
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Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker have agreed that Brexit talks "should accelerate over the months to come" - but there is no suggestion that tonight's dinner has broken the impasse.

The dinner between the Prime Minister and President of the European Commission clearly went well. It overran the schedule by at least half an hour, and Juncker received a kiss from May as she left, as well as a hug from Brexit secretary David Davis, who was also there.

The joint statement issued shortly afterwards said the dinner "took place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere", and there had been a "broad, constructive exchange on current European and global challenges", including the Iran nuclear deal and terrorism, as well as Brexit and the European Council meeting, which takes place on Thursday.

"As regards the Article 50 negotiations, both sides agreed that these issues are being discussed in the framework agreed between the EU27 and the United Kingdom, as set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

"The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission reviewed the progress made in the Article 50 negotiations so far and agreed that these efforts should accelerate over the months to come."

But there was nothing about the technical issues of the divorce bill, or any comment around "sufficient progress" - which must be agreed on by the EU27 at the end of this week if the second stage of talks is to be unlocked, finally allowing negotiators to discuss trade and transition.