U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to meet the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday afternoon, hoping to strike a rough agreement on the future links between the U.K. and the EU.
The future relationship is the focus at the moment in Brussels, while Westminster is still being bogged down by the country's exit agreement.
Reporters in the Belgian capital are waiting for the publication of a draft plan that will be fundamental once the U.K. leaves the EU in March of next year. After March 29, the official Brexit date, the U.K. and the European Union will negotiate their future ties including new trading arrangements. However, the aim is to agree on the basis for those talks before a special Brexit summit this Sunday.
Margaritis Schinas, chief spokesperson for the European Commission, said Tuesday that the aim of Wednesday's meeting is to prepare for Sunday's summit, when the other 27 EU leaders and May are due to endorse the exit agreement as well as the so-called political declaration on the future relationship. However, the European institutions have yet to confirm when that important political text will be published on Tuesday.
Some EU countries have raised concerns regarding fishing and unfair advantages to U.K. businesses. Spain is also concerned about the future status of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory that Madrid maintains a claim on. The future relationship document is likely to address all of these concerns. However, the 585-page document stating how the U.K. will leave the EU in March is unlikely to be altered to accommodate those concerns. Both documents will be discussed and signed off by European leaders on Sunday.