Why is Theresa May storming to Brussels on Wednesday when she has some political headaches at home and will be back in a few days for the EU leaders' Seal the Deal Brexit summit?
The answer: The Prime Minister wants to show that she is fighting to the very last moment to get the best Brexit deal out of the EU.
On Wednesday afternoon, Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, will provide her with a floodlit platform.
Now, the two leaders had planned to discuss a draft text of the political declaration on relations between the EU and Britain after Brexit.
Ms. May wanted to push for even closer trade relations than the EU had previously wanted to allow, without leaving the UK in the single market. In essence, she is very, very much interested in seeing her Checkers proposal for a Brexit (which in EU circles is considered cherry picking non plus ultra) reflected in the document.
- What to Look Out for in the Brexit Declaration
The Brexit process, however, has now become much more complicated. This means that the draft text on future relations between the EU and the UK has not been completed in time for the Prime Minister to take over the matter.
You see, it's no longer just a question of Ms. May, who demands more from the EU.
A number of EU countries are suddenly pushing for much more from the British Prime Minister. For France, it's about fishing rights. Spain is about the status of Gibraltar.
While others, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, think that they should get less when it comes to the British Customs Union, which is provided as part of the supporting pillars of the Irish border. They want Britain to be more closely tied to EU environmental legislation, for example to prevent British companies from having a competitive advantage over Europeans.
Concerning the Prime Minister's checkers plan for trade and security (also very bad in the UK, of course), Germany loud and clear has said that the political declaration on future EU-UK relations will not be allowed What Berlin calls "Lady at the back door".
It is highly unlikely that all this can be resolved in a single meeting between Ms May and the Head of the European Commission.
So, the big question is, is the drafting of a text about the future relationship between the EU and the UK being prepared by the EU? At the end of the week, to give EU leaders at least one day to digest it? Or are the stars getting together for a dramatic showdown between these leaders and the British Prime Minister at their Sunday summit?
- A brief guide to where we are with the Brexit
An EU diplomat said possible similarities with a nailless marathon ahead of summit at the height of the Greek debt crisis.
During the night meeting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was asked to negotiate his case several times with the leaders of the Eurozone before being sent out of the room to allow these leaders to decide on the economic fate of his country itself. 1
The last question I'm going to ask here is: Could it be more about optics than about tiny politics?
Apart from the fact that nobody in European circles seriously thinks that any EU country will refuse until the end of the game at the end of the game.
- Reality Check: When is the crunch time?
They all want to avoid a no-deal scenario and want to help Mrs. May get the Brexit texts through a vote in the lower house.
A last-minute political dispute with the EU is likely to benefit Ms. May.
A dramatic Brexit Summit culminating in a (presumably planned) late night / early morning cloudy but triumphant but triumphant decision-making with EU leaders, allow Ms. May to assert that the final text of the agreement hard fought and hard on … in the passionate hope that will weaken the attitude of some of her many critics at home.