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Brexit: May Returns to Brussels But the EU Does Not Move

LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to Brussels on Wednesday to renew her quest to reopen the Brexit divorce in Britain, but seems disappointed, Reuters reported Wednesday.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has agreed to meet again in May in less than six weeks of Brexit, but EU leaders insist they do not resume negotiations.
“I have a lot of respect for Theresa May, for her courage and self-assurance. We will have a friendly conversation tomorrow, but I do not expect a breakthrough, “said Juncker on Tuesday.
May and the other 27 European leaders approved a Brexit withdrawal agreement at a summit on 25 November, but the British leader’s parliament rejected it on 15 January.
Since then, May and his ministers have met several times with EU leaders and their negotiator, Michel Barnier, to urge them to reopen the text to find a way to appease Eurosceptic MEPs.
May will try again on Wednesday, but during this trip, she will not even meet Donald Tusk, who, as President of the European Council, represents the leaders of the EU Member States.
Instead, she will meet Juncker and Barnier, who have no mandate from the Tusk council or EU capitals to renegotiate the agreement or to amend the famous “Irish support” clause.
This allows Britain to remain in the EU’s customs union until it means – such as a future free trade agreement – can be found for the border between Ireland and the EU. Northern Ireland remains open.
Representatives of the Conservative May government, the Brexiteers, see it as a “trap” for keeping Britain in a form of union indefinitely and demanding a deadline or unilateral exit clause.
This would be perceived in Brussels as a betrayal by Ireland, an EU member, and EU officials still do not care much.
“We can not accept a security limit or a unilateral exit clause,” Juncker spokeswoman Margaritis Schinas told reporters on Tuesday, reaffirming the EU’s long-standing position.
This represents a direct rejection of the May main claim.
May’s spokesman said the prime minister was working hard to secure legally binding changes.
“The Prime Minister thinks he can get changes in the support of the deputies: there is a majority in Parliament for an agreement.”
Without an agreement, Britain is expected to leave the Union abruptly after four decades on March 29, with no subsequent agreement or transition period to manage trade and economic relations.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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