Weakened May turns to Brussels for Brexit help, but EU cautious

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain’s weakened prime minister, Theresa May, mentioned on Thursday she didn’t anticipate to safe an instantaneous breakthrough in Brexit talks that would supply her fractured social gathering with the sort of reassurances wanted to get her deal via parliament.

The European Union’s response as she arrived in Brussels for two days of talks with fellow EU leaders at a summit was certain to disappoint May, contemporary from surviving a mutiny in opposition to her management inside the Conservative social gathering.

The different 27 nationwide leaders have been cautious of giving Britain any authorized assurances over essentially the most contentious component of their tentative Brexit deal — the emergency repair for the Irish border — partly as a result of they anticipated May would come again once more to ask for extra in January.

“I recognize the strength of concern in the House of Commons and that is what I will be putting to colleagues today,” May mentioned on arrival. “I don’t expect an immediate breakthrough, but what I do hope is that we can start work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary.”

May gained the backing of 200 Conservative Party members of parliament versus 117 in opposition to, in a secret poll that deepened divisions simply weeks earlier than parliament wants to approve a deal to stop a disorderly exit from the EU.

In Britain’s greatest choice for a long time, Brexit has cut up the nation and can form the way forward for its $2.eight trillion financial system. Pro-Europeans worry exit will weaken that financial system and its worldwide standing. Brexit supporters hail it as doing away with a flailing German-led European undertaking.

Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay mentioned May, who has been shuttling spherical Europe for months and was attending the EU summit till Friday afternoon, would search assurances Britain wouldn’t be tied to EU guidelines indefinitely after Brexit.


No vote on the Brexit bundle was included in a schedule of parliamentary enterprise for the approaching week earlier than Christmas and EU leaders look unlikely to supply quick help. A draft EU assertion mentioned they have been merely “ready to examine” whether or not additional assurance might be given.

“There is no point bleeding for May now when it may really not be about what’s in the Brexit deal. In the UK parliament, it’s about new elections and a leadership contest,” an EU diplomat mentioned. “So today is just about kicking the can down the road, buying time until January.”

The six-point EU draft doc mentioned any future assurances wouldn’t “change or contradict” the legally binding withdrawal settlement struck final month after two years of negotiations.

Earlier this week, May delayed a parliamentary vote on her deal, designed to keep shut future ties with the EU, after admitting it might be soundly defeated within the House of Commons. She has pledged a brand new vote earlier than Jan. 21 but faces a tall order to persuade skeptical lawmakers.

With Britain due to go away the EU on March 29, prospects now embody a doubtlessly disorderly exit with no deal agreed and no easy transition, and even one other referendum.

British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir


May, who met Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Brussels and EU summit chair Donald Tusk, desires authorized assurances that the Irish “backstop” is not going to stay in place indefinitely.

The backstop is an emergency repair to stop intensive border checks on the island of Ireland. It is essentially the most contentious component of the deal.

“A significant number of colleagues did cast a vote against me and I’ve listened to what they said,” May mentioned in Downing Street late on Wednesday.

The EU’s draft assertion, seen by Reuters, reiterated that it prefers a brand new deal to ever triggering the Irish backstop and that it might strive to swiftly conclude such an accord even when the emergency border repair kicks in.

EU states weren’t in settlement on the textual content on Thursday morning, nevertheless. Diplomats in Brussels anticipate it to change after May tells the opposite nationwide leaders what she wants to push their deal via her parliament.

They instructed the EU could also be readying extra strong assurances for May in January.

May, who mentioned on Wednesday she wouldn’t be standing within the subsequent election due in 2022, has to safe some enchancment on her deal to have any hope of parliamentary approval.

The confidence vote in opposition to her has highlighted the historic divisions over Europe inside the Conservative Party that contributed to the downfall of the three earlier Conservative premiers: David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

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National newspapers mentioned “lame duck” May had been given a “stay of execution” after she “scraped through”.

The Northern Irish social gathering that props up her authorities — and strongly opposes her withdrawal deal — mentioned the basic arithmetic in parliament was unchanged regardless of the boldness vote victory, and the backstop should go.

Additional reporting by Kate Holton and Kylie MacLellan and Paul Sandle in London, Alastair Macdonald, Jan Strupczewski and Philip Blenkinsop, Editing by Alastair Macdonald, Raisa Kasolowsky, Andrew Cawthorne, Larry King

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source link reuters.com

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