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What is the gap the Prime Minister has to bridge with Brussels?

Theresa May left for Brussels on Monday. Credit: PA

A big hello from balmy barmy Brussels - where the PM has arrived for her dinner with Juncker and Barnier.

Theresa May would not have turned up for no reason. But I am slightly struggling to understand the point of the meeting (although Commission grub ain’t too shabby) - given that her colleagues are continuing to insist that she isn’t budging from her Florentine position, and that the bloomin’ ball remains in the EU’s court.

Because the big problem is that the EU is insisting that the ball is on our side of the net.

And there’s no umpire to adjudicate.

What Juncker and Barnier want from her is:

  • a commitment to acknowledge that we have contingent and post 2021 liabilities to them - which she singularly refused to do at Florence
  • some mechanism that guarantees the rights of EU migrants beyond the binding force of British law
  • increased rights for family members of EU migrants to settle in the UK
Mrs May and David Davis are hoping to break the Brexit deadlock. Credit: APTV

I am reliably told she will give no comfort to Barnier and Juncker on any of these issues.

But absent concessions from her, especially on what we supposedly owe the EU, it will remain in the realms of the wholly impossible that talks can begin on our future long term trade and security relationship with the EU until the new year - at the very earliest.

And her hope of providing the reassurance businesses desperately want that there will be at least two years of transition to full-throttled Brexit would also be laughable.

Famously after a recent meeting Juncker said she was from a galaxy far, far away. Maybe he and she are now circling the same sun, although they are still clearly on different planets.

But there is still far too much of the Federation versus Klingons in these talks.