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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Matt Cardy - WPA Pool/Getty Images

While U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May held a lively press conference with President Trump Friday at her country retreat, Michel Barnier, the EU's Brexit point man, was in Washington responding to her Brexit plan.

Between the lines: May is facing an intraparty revolt for allegedly going too "soft" in her plan, but parts of it still look unacceptable from Brussels. Still, EU officials aren't anxious to see May fall, and a "no deal" Brexit would also damage Europe. So can Barnier show a bit of flexibility?

  • Early signs aren't all that promising. Take the EU's single market, which allows goods, capital, services, and labor to travel freely around the continent. May wants to stay in the single market for goods, but not for services — and don't get her started on free movement of people.
  • Barnier, speaking at the Carnegie Endowment, called the single market the EU's "biggest asset" and said there's no room there for flexibility. "We respect their red lines," he said, "but because of those red lines they close doors."
  • He also said he plans to "do everything for this Brexit to be unique," meaning he won't give May the kind of deal that would tempt other countries to leave.

What to watch: May will have to make concessions to Brussels, then turn around and sell that deal to parliament. With the Conservatives split and Labour likely to vote "no" in hopes of toppling May's government, that might not be possible.

  • That could mean fresh elections, or even a second referendum. Either would take time — and the clock is ticking. Barnier and the EU may at least be flexible on that point, and grant May an extension.

Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

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