LONDON – EU guarantees that the UK’s exit agreement may be insufficient to convince MEPs to approve the agreement on Tuesday, the British PM said.
“The letters published today have legal force and must be used to interpret the meaning of the Exit Agreement,” said in a speech at Stoke-on-Trent in central England.
However, she also acknowledged that “the new legal and political guarantees contained in the letters of Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker do not go as far as some Members would like.”
The presidents of the European Commission and the European Council today sent a letter to the British Prime Minister in which they insist that they are not “in a position to agree on anything that changes or is inconsistent with the Exit Agreement” concluded between the 27 and the United Kingdom.
Nevertheless, they reaffirm that if the backstop were ever activated, totally or partially, it would be “only temporarily” until the parties reach a definitive agreement “which ensures the absence of a physical boundary on the island of Ireland on a permanent basis “.
The clarifications made by Brussels come from an exchange of letters with the British PM, through which Theresa May tried to sensitize the European leaders for the need of clarifications on some points in the Agreement of Exit.
“The agreement is at stake, however, because of concerns in the British parliament over how we will implement our commitments to the Northern Ireland border with Ireland,” she said in a letter to European leaders issued today.
The safeguard solution, known as the backstop, is in effect to keep the British region in line with European Single Market rules until a new trade agreement between the two parties is concluded.
May says that some British MEPs fear that the EU “will not grab the negotiation of our future relationship energetically or ambitiously, or even that the EU will completely drop its arms and leave the UK permanently on the backstop.”
In response to reporters after the speech at Stoke-on-Trent, made in a typical ceramics factory in that region in central England, Theresa May said she had made contacts recently and that she continues to try to convince more deputies of the value of the agreement.
“There are deputies who recognize the importance of the decision and say now that they are going to vote in favor of the agreement when they had previously expressed doubts,” she said but was not confident about whether the document would be approved on Tuesday.
The PM adds that it is “important that we realize the outcome [of the 2016 referendum] and not get into a situation where there is a risk that Parliament will try to thwart Brexit and in recent days we have seen that risk.”
In the speech, she warned of the danger that the exit process would be “paralyzed” and that “Brexit” would not happen on the date determined by law, which is March 29.
The House of Commons meets in today’s five-day debate before voting on the agreement negotiated by the government with Brussels to ensure an orderly exit from the EU, which was postponed the day before the scheduled day on 11 December 2018, when May said it would be defeated by a “significant margin”.