Backstage at Brexit summit: Huddles jokes, cod dinner

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Forget Regarding the Adjusting a new date for Britain to leave the European Union.

The huge question Wednesday’s high-stakes EU summit: What has been about Angela Merkel’s tablet?

Since the 28 EU leaders sat down to talks with Britain’s future in the balance, the chancellor shared a laugh on her tablet together with British Prime Minister Theresa May over some puzzle image.

The moment of levity was a part of a stressed, daylong ballet which played Wednesday in Brussels’ European Quarter, culminating at a closed-door dinner where presidents and prime ministers will speak for hours till they no more disagree.

And only then will they determine just how Britain that is much longer will remain in the EU.

It is a unique type of European dinner celebration: EU leaders (with no Britain’s Theresa May, since she is not invited) each have their turn to speak and talk and talk in between bites and sips till they achieve a consensus on whether to prohibit the U.K. an extension to Brexit, and for a long time. The dinner is predicted to drag to the wee hours of Thursday.

On the menu du jour: warm scallop salad followed for dessert.

As usual in EU meetings, undertones were transported by the menu. Tension erupted between British and French fishermen this year over rights, although cod has been a source of dispute

Hours the backdoor politicking, prior to the supper started: The prime minister played between ally May and also harder-line EU leaders. The German and French leaders had their huddle. A mini-club of all North Sea states gathered elsewhere.

It is the only real way the EU can come to the necessary consensus, and frequently seems hard to outsiders — however, the EU has raised it into an art.

Everybody got their own interests to protect, however in the end of the daythey must all agree on one answer: The EU leaders may either let her wait Brexit till June, or compel her to delay it longer — or tell her”good riddance” and let Britain risk tumbling out of the bloc this week with no upcoming plan.

The summit appeared to get off to a comfortable start. Three of those European leaders took off their coats while they assembled around a round table decorated with pink roses and carnations.

Merkel walked on to May at the ready. Before sharing with a laugh, the two leaders looked at the display.

Questions immediately erupted. What exactly did Europe’s strongest girls — often on opposite surfaces of the painful Brexit debate — find funny? The top concept: It had something to do with their coats, indistinguishable EU-blue.

May was being treated just like a bit of EU outcast even before she came in Brussels. The official summit booklet with leaders’ photos relegated the head of the British authorities to the amount of”Guest.”

May took the ground, pleading with her peers for just over an hour so that the remaining EU members could debate if the prime minister made a convincing case before she had been ejected.

Prior to another leaders eventually agreed to grant her a short Brexit delay, two weeks before, May waited four hours in a Brussels government suite.

Some of Wednesday’s summit drama started well before European Council President Donald Tusk opened the evening meeting in the Europa building at the area that was multicolored.

Earlier in the afternoon, Belgium hosted six different nations near the U.K. — Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Ireland and Denmark — in the neoclassical Egmont Palace across city, amid hills of marble and gilded chandeliers, to plot plan.

But not everyone liked this idea. Rumors quickly surfaced the particular”mini-summit” has been a scheme to put out tough terms for Britain’s new extension and put another EU leaders in front of a fait-accompli. Instantly diplomats needed to play down the assembly, saying it was only to”organize” plans in the event of a no-deal.

it can get to be just as much, although it’s all in a day’s work for the EU.

In a 2016 summit when Britain was once again the troublemaker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel walked outside the building went to a French fry shack close by, for a dose of this delight.