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EU leaders will intervene in Brexit talks in autumn

Britain will be asked to give away some sovereignty to secure free trade with the EU but Europe’s leaders will intervene in the negotiations in the autumn with the aim of sealing a compromise deal at a summit on 15 October, Germany’s ambassador in Brussels has said.

Michael Clauss, whose country will take over the rolling presidency of the EU for the second half of the year, said there had been “no real progress” in the talks so far but predicted they would become the EU’s main political focus in September and October.

“Is a deal possible? Yes, definitely. But I think it also means that UK needs to have a more realistic approach,” Clauss said at an event hosted by the European Policy Centre thinktank. “To put in short, I think you cannot have a full sovereignty and, at the same time, full access to the internal market. So this Brexit issue is going to absorb a lot of political or most of the political attention we expect in September and October.”

The signal that the EU’s 27 heads of state and government are prepared to turn their focus to the stalling talks will be a boost to Downing Street, where officials have emphasised the need for a resetting of Michel Barnier’s negotiating position.

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