>> Defy discussion>> Each side in the Brexit talks is sticking to the script in public with a chorus of deadlock. But behind the scenes a political fix is taking shape. EU leaders have given the UK two months to divulge how much it will cough up to quit the block, which Prime Minister Teresa May has so far refused to do.
Only then can trade talks start, they say. But diplomatic theatrics at last week's Brussels Summit suggest growing leeway, says Reuters Allister McDonald.>> What we've had over the past few days is, first of all, the European Union making ever clearer that it doesn't need to know a hard figure right now.
They don't want to put this issue to one side for another year or so while they negotiate a free trade deal with Britain. Only to find that Britain comes back and says well, we might have indicated that we might pay more but actually we've decided not to. What the leaders did at the summit last week was also to open what they called internal proprietary work on the transition period that May has asked for, which will come after Brexit.
Now, that is intended to accelerate, to move the process forward. So that, perhaps in December, when there is an agreement to open this second phase involving trade talk. That the EU is already in a position to move ahead much quicker with those negotiations.>> Brussels shows a growing recognition of May's lack of room for maneuver, further weakening her is in neither sides interest.
A German newspaper report over the weekend painted May as worn down by party in-fighting and pleading for help when she had dinner with Jean-Claude Juncker last week. The European Commission President's aide denied the alleged leak. It's unlikely that the problem will play out smoothly. EU diplomats expect more such drama as each side tries to bolster its position before the next round.