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EU leaders rule out Brexit deal renegotiation with UK

EU leaders rule out Brexit
deal renegotiation with UK

Reuters
BRUSSELS
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday that further assurances on her Brexit deal were possible after European Union leaders told her they would not be renegotiating the agreement and scorned her stilted defence of Britain’s departure.
With the British parliament deadlocked, Brexit has been thrust into doubt with possible outcomes ranging from a potentially disorderly departure with no deal to another referendum on European Union membership.
May, who on Wednesday survived a plot in her party to oust her, asked EU leaders at a summit in Brussels for political and legal assurances to help her convince the British parliament to approve her deal.
“Further clarification and discussion, following the Council’s conclusions is, in fact, possible,” May told reporters. “There is work still to do and we will be holding talks in coming days about how to obtain the further assurances.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron ruled out reopening last month’s agreement, aimed at ensuring a smooth exit on March 29, though leaders assured her that it should not bind Britain to EU rules forever. After EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said talks with the British over Brexit often led to “nebulous” debates, May was shown on official footage remonstrating with him.
What they said was not audible but May appeared agitated while Juncker held her by the arm, shook his head and raised his palm in an apparent effort to calm her before the Dutch prime minister arrived to interrupt them.
Asked if they had spoken about the “nebulous” remark, May said: “I had a robust discussion with Jean-Claude Juncker.”
The exchanges had echoes of a summit in Salzburg in September where EU leaders had been expected to demonstratively offer support for May. Instead, they were irritated by Britain’s tactics in the run-up to the meeting, and the event ended in acrimony.
Diplomats said May had exasperated EU leaders on Thursday by failing to outline precise proposals for what she needed to push the deal through, and even at one point used her much-derided mantra of “Brexit means Brexit”.
“If this is all she has for us, there is no point trying too hard now,” one diplomat told Reuters. “She still needs to do her homework - maybe she’ll come back in January with something concrete and then we will see.”
“To say ‘Brexit means Brexit’ more than two years after it all started was what toughened the other leaders’ stance,” said the diplomat. May’s allies at home said the summit was a useful start, but the opposition Labour Party said May had failed and called for the parliamentary vote on the deal that she postponed on Monday, fearing a heavy defeat, to be held next week.

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