EU “united” on Brexit deal, ruling out negotiation

EU Michel Barnier

EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has said that the bloc is “united” over the Brexit deal, and says that they “stand by” the agreement they have with the UK.

This comes after Prime Minister Theresa May won a vote in Parliament to reopen talks with the EU.

MPs voted 317 to 301 in favour of changing the backstop plan – the section of the deal designed to avoid the return of Northern Ireland border checks. But Barnier said the EU stood by the existing withdrawal agreement.

“The EU institutions remain united and we stand by the agreement we have negotiated with the UK.”

Michel barnier

The prime minister is due to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn later for talks, after MPs backed an amendment rejecting the idea of a no-deal Brexit. He had previously refused to meet Mrs May unless she ruled out a no-deal Brexit herself.

EU Leaders United

Various EU leaders have suggested there will be no revisions to the deal. European Council President Donald Tusk said: “The backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement, and the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also said the agreement was “not renegotiable”. Whereas Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the backstop arrangement remained “necessary” despite the vote.

Tusk added the EU would be willing to look at the political declaration again. This is the part of the deal that makes a pledge on the future relationship between the UK and the EU – and that the EU would “stand ready” to consider any “reasoned request” for an extension to the leave date of 29 March.

Open To Negotiate

However, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has indicated that the EU may be open to renegotiation.

“The EU themselves said: ‘Tell us what you want’. We’re going back. The prime minister’s hand is strengthened – with some discreet, focused and eminently reasonable changes to the backstop.

“The question isn’t whether the EU can do it, it’s whether they want to do it – the ball is squarely in their court.”

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