Brussels rejects May’s plans to renegotiate Irish backstop
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has snubbed Theresa May’s request to renegotiate the Irish backstop plan and urged her to focus on securing cross-party support for Brexit by adopting a closer relationship with the Europe.
Michel Barnier has told Theresa May that it is not possible to renegotiate the Irish backstop plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland and that she should instead focus on garnering cross-party support for a Brexit deal by opting for a softer exit.
His sentiments have scuppered the British prime minister’s plan to appeal to rebel Conservative and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs who believe the Irish backstop will leave the UK stuck in the customs union indefinitely.
EU urges May to reopen cross-party talks
Barnier believes that closer ties between the UK and EU will ensure opposition party leaders in Britain will lead to May’s deal being approved in the House of Commons.
‘This debate is much more now on the future relationship between the EU and the UK,’ Barnier said. ‘It’s now for the UK leaders to build this stable and political majority for a deal.’
‘We are waiting for the next steps and are ready to work again on the political declaration,’ he added.
The German economic minister Peter Altmaier shared similar sentiments to the EU’s chief negotiator, taking to Twitter to urge a reopening of cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock.
‘Sympathy, patience and readiness to wait until the UK’s position will be clarified are of utmost importance to avoid the worst,’ he tweeted. ‘They should not be misused for party politics. Large majority wants to exclude hard Brexit – in the interest of the UK and beyond.’
MPs propose rival Brexit plans
There is significant opposition for May’s Brexit deal in the House of Commons, with Labour party MPs proposing amendments, including a prevention of a no-deal exit and an extension of the March 29 deadline.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn believes that the amendment will end the Brexit deadlock and prevent the ‘chaos’ of bailing out of the bloc without a deal.
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