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AFP
December 13, 2019

EU leaders hope for decisive British vote result

Top Story

AFP
December 13, 2019

BRUSSELS: European leaders arrived for their Brussels summit on Thursday hoping that by the time their late-night budget debate is over British voters will have decided how they want to approach Brexit.

The 27 remaining EU chiefs have a packed summit agenda and a dispute to resolve over how to fund the fight against climate change, but diplomats will have an ear to the ground for news from across the Channel.

Meeting reporters on their arrival, the leaders were tight-lipped, but privately many officials in Brussels say they hope Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins a working majority.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar did not endorse Johnson’s vow to “Get Brexit Done”, but stressed the need for a decisive verdict. “I imagine most prime ministers and presidents will be staying up all night to watch the results, so we’ll all be a bit bleary eyed in the morning,” he told reporters ahead of the summit. “Obviously, it’s entirely a decision for the people of the UK to elect whatever government they want and I just hope the result is decisive so that we know where we’re going over the next few months.”

Some European officials argue that with a majority, Johnson will be able to ratify a deal to oversee an orderly British departure on January 31 and rapidly launch talks on the future trading relationship. Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said the next British prime minister should have a majority “to fulfil the agreements we decided on both sides”

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