EU offers Britain help, but no renegotiation UK says will not delay exit; speculation grows
Bucharest: The European Union officials are working with Britain on ways to help British Prime Minister Theresa May avoid a no-deal British departure from the bloc, although an EU leader insisted on Friday that his helping hand won’t include any renegotiation of the Brexit divorce deal.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, “We are checking with Downing Street what the clarifications could amount to” that might help May get her Brexit deal approved by Britain’s Parliament next week.
But, Juncker added: “They should not be confused with a renegotiation.”
An EU official said the bloc and the British government “are in contact at all levels ... to make sure that the deal goes through.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the diplomatic talks.
The two sides are discussing
It’s government policy that this is not something we are going to do.
Theresa May’s spokesperson, on the PM ruling out extending Article 50
possible reassurances to help persuade reluctant British lawmakers to back the deal in a vote Tuesday in Parliament.
Britain and the EU reached a hard-won Brexit deal in November, but the agreement has run aground in the British Parliament. May postponed a vote on the agreement in December to avoid a resounding defeat, and there are few signs the deal has picked up support since then.
The Brexit agreement aims to guarantee Britain’s smooth departure from the bloc, with a long transition period to adapt to the new situation and negotiate a permanent trade agreement.
Without a deal, Britain faces an abrupt break from the EU on March 29, and there are fears it could involve chaotic scenes and people in Britain would face uncertain months. London: Contact between the European Union and the UK government over the Brexit deal is happening at “all levels” ahead of the parliamentary vote in London next week, according to a senior European official, who spoke to reporters in Bucharest on condition of anonymity.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Theresa May has and still rules out delaying Brexit by extending Article 50, her spokeswoman Alison Donnelly said on Friday.
The government will ensure the legislation needed for leaving the EU will be passed in time for Brexit day on March 29, she said. Asked if May rules out extending Article 50, Donnelly said: “Yes, and she has done.” “It’s government policy that this is not something we are going to do,” she said.
This came as a response to reports that cited unidentified ministers as saying they expect Brexit to be delayed due to the backlog of necessary legislation needed for Brexit. It’s worth noting that the government has become less categorical in ruling out an extension.
Pro-Brexit demonstrators hold placard outside Houses of Parliament, London