Thursday 20 June 2019

Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is 'not open for renegotiation' - says Tusk

  • Withdrawal agreement 'not open for renegotiation' - Tusk
  • May seeks curbs to 'Irish backstop' at EU summit
  • EU leaders rally behind Irish refusal to amend deal
  • Party critics question May future after she won vote
European Council President Donald Tusk . Picture: AP
European Council President Donald Tusk . Picture: AP

Gabriela Baczynska, Jan Strupczewski and Alastair Macdonald

European Union leaders gave Prime Minister Theresa May assurances on Thursday that they would seek to agree a new deal with Britain by 2021 so that the contentious "backstop" is never triggered.

"It is not open for renegotiation," the 27 national leaders said in a joint statement of the Brexit deal they agreed with May in late November.

The British leader has since returned to Brussels to ask for assurances she says she needs to get it passed by her divided parliament.

The bloc said it wanted to "establish as close as possible a partnership with the United Kingdom in the future" and would aim to have it in place by the end of 2020 "so that the backstop will not need to be triggered."

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

If the backstop were triggered, the EU said it would apply "temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement" that would ensure no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The bloc promised to undertake its "best endeavours" to ensure the backstop, a fall-back guarantee to avoid a hard border, would only be applied "for as long as strictly necessary."

Reuters

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