Europe’s top Brexit negotiators hang a mocking poster on the walls of their Brexit war room.

The image reflects the view among many top EU officials that Brexit is an act of economic self-harm by the UK that will become apparent in the course of the negotiations.

Many top EU officials and political leaders still hope that Britain might yet decide to think again about Brexit when confronted by the economic trade-offs that come with leaving the EU single market and rejecting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

“If the ship is sinking, is it not only natural to call for rescue?” said one senior EU diplomatic source. “We are still not giving up hope that the United Kingdom decides not to leave us.”

Next Wednesday Theresa May will trigger Article 50, formally notifying Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, that Britain intends to quit the EU.

The European Council, which corrals the EU heads of government, will then respond with a statement, setting guidelines and a detailed mandate for the two-year negotiation.

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