13 September, 2017
The European Union and Britain agreed to delay by a week the next round of Brexit talks, on expectations that Prime Minister Theresa May would make an important speech on the subject on September 21, diplomats in Brussels said.
Britain and the European Union postponed a new round of Brexit negotiations by a week until the end of the month in what EU diplomats said was to allow time for Prime Minister Theresa May to make a key speech in about 10 days. There was no immediate official comment from the European Commission, which is the EU executive.
The September 25 date marks a postponement of one week in agreed timetable of talks by the two parties as they work out how Britain will leave the European Union, a move precipitated by the referendum on European Union membership held in Britain in June 2016.
The government emphasised that "NATO will continue to be the cornerstone" of its security upon leaving the EU in March 2019 but that Britain would seek a UK-EU relationship that is "deeper than any third country partnership".
European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier has, like his counterpart British Brexit minister David Davis, played down the significance of the precise timing of talks in Brussels.
The last round of negotiations was held in late August and ended with each side blaming the other for the lack of progress.
Verhofstadt said lawmakers are set to debate on October 3 whether the negotiations should be broadened to discuss trade and the shape of post-Brexit relations. In early October she faces a tricky first Conservative party conference since she lost her parliamentary majority in an ill-advised snap election. All of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the preparations haven't been finalized.
The security document aims at quelling fears that Britain, which has the largest defence and development budgets in Europe, could use defence co-operation as leverage in the negotiations with Brussels.
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier also voiced concern at London's proposal for the Irish border, insisting that Brussels would not let Britain use Ireland as a "test case for future EU-UK customs relations".