EU of­fers Bri­tain help, but no rene­go­ti­a­tion UK says will not de­lay exit; spec­u­la­tion grows

DNA (Delhi) - - WORLD -

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.

Ali­son Don­nelly,

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

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