Photographer: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

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Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

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It’s getting serious. Trying to break the Brexit negotiation deadlock, British Prime Minister Theresa May set off for Brussels today to have dinner with the president of the European Commission and the EU’s top negotiator. But before the first hors d’oeuvre was passed, a person familiar with the Britain’s position revealed to Bloomberg that the government fears the collapse of Brexit talks within weeks if the EU doesn’t compromise. Negotiations must proceed by December to Britain’s future trade relationship with the EU, or the entire Brexit process could be in peril. — Andy Reinhardt

Lockdown. Ireland braced for its worst weather event in 50 years as storm Ophelia came ashore over the southwest coast and began battering its way across the country. Two people have been reported killed, about 120,000 homes have lost power and the winds are expected to intensify. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar declared a national red alert, warning that “Ophelia is a very dangerous storm.”

Nudged right. Sebastian Kurz is set to become the world’s youngest head of state at the age of 31 after his center-right People’s Party placed first in Austria’s election on Sunday. His campaign centered on immigration, and with the nationalist Freedom Party as a likely coalition party, a new administration is likely to pursue a more populist agenda. With Germans electing a far-right party to parliament three weeks ago, it’s clear that populism continues to be a force that can’t be ignored in European politics.

People watch a projection depicting a portrait of Prince Mohammed in Riyadh.
Photographer: /AFP

Grand plans. Saudi Arabia’s young new crown prince has big ambitions: to kick the country’s addiction to petrodollars and ready it for the post-oil world. It’s a transformation no nation in history has managed to pull off, and it’s not clear whether Mohammed Bin Salman will fare any better, as officials struggle with how to save money and speed up social change without crippling the economy and clashing with the conservative religious establishment.

Building bridges. Almost seven decades after Josef Stalin embarked on building a tunnel to Sakhalin Island, just north of Japan, Vladimir Putin is backing a plan for a bridge to the island that could cost $5 billion. Mega-projects have become a signature plank of Putin’s economic policy as he approaches what could be his last term in the Kremlin. Linking remote, energy-rich Sakhalin with the mainland has political appeal—and potential cooperation with Japan means you could one day drive there from Russia.

Down market. London house prices are falling at their fastest pace since the financial crisis, confirming the British capital as the worst-performing part of a slowing market. Meanwhile, the number of London homes under construction that remain unsold rose to a record, according to Molior London. Brexit may or may not be a factor, but one thing’s for sure: People who leave London for cities on the Continent may find rent as much as 60 percent lower.

Luxury titans. On the banks of the Seine, two of Europe’s richest men are jockeying for prestige. Luxury tycoons Bernard Arnault of LVMH, and Francois Pinault of rival group Kering, are racing to build luxury hotels, contemporary art institutions, and other landmark real estate projects that will reshape Paris. Of course, billionaires aren’t the only constituents who matter, insists French President Emmanuel Macron, who in his first TV interview denied he’s ruling for the rich.

The renovation of the Samaritaine department store.
Photographer: JOEL SAGET/AFP

Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha

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