Updated Jul 17, 2018

Theresa May will need a break from Brussels on Brexit

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.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 857,487 — Total deaths: 42,107 — Total recoveries: 178,034.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 188,172 — Total deaths: 3,873 — Total recoveries: 7,024.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
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The novel coronavirus pandemic is the "greatest test" the world has faced together since the formation of the United Nations just after the Second World War ended in 1945, UN chief António Guterres said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 856,000 and the death toll exceeded 42,000 Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 12,000 deaths.

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Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

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