EU summit poses burning questions beyond just Brexit

Even without Brexit, the European Union has enough problems on its plate to fill the agenda for its two-day Brussels summit, beginning Thursday. For the moment, Brexit hasn’t even made it onto the official agenda, because it is impossible to say if an exit agreement will even be reached before the deadline arrives.

“This is a very unusual summit because a lot of major issues are currently unresolved,” an EU diplomat said before the start of meetings. “The only thing that is certain is that the summit will begin on Thursday afternoon.”

Indeed, this time around the draft of the normally comprehensive summit declaration is only two pages long and consists mainly of headings with no content.

French President Emmanuel Macron is arriving in a rather insulted mood. His chosen candidate for one of the EU commissioner posts was recently rejected by the European Parliament — an affront for which Macron blames Ursula von der Leyen, the German president-elect of the European Commission. Macron, a liberal, and von der Leyen, a conservative, intend to meet on the sidelines to figure out which French candidates have a realistic shot at being confirmed.

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