“We can have a political discussion tonight, but the legal framework and the agreement that were negotiated are not supposed to change,” Macron said ahead of a European summit in Brussels. “It’s important to avoid any ambiguity: we cannot reopen a legal agreement, we can’t renegotiate what was negotiated for several months.”
May said yesterday that she did not expect to secure an immediate breakthrough in Brexit talks that would provide her fractured party with the kind of reassurances needed to get her deal through parliament.
The EU’s response as she arrived in Brussels for two days of talks with fellow EU leaders at a summit was bound to disappoint May, fresh from surviving a mutiny against her leadership within the Conservative party.
The other 27 national leaders were wary of giving Britain any legal assurances over the most contentious element of their tentative Brexit deal - the emergency fix for the Irish border - partly because they expected May would come back again to ask for more next month.
Brexit has split the nation and will shape the future of its $2.8trillion (R40trillion) economy.
Pro-Europeans fear exit will weaken that economy and its international standing. Brexit supporters hail it as casting off a flailing German-led European project.
Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay said May, who has been shuttling round Europe for months and was attending the EU summit until today, would seek assurances Britain would not be tied to EU rules indefinitely after Brexit. The six-point EU draft document said any future assurances would not “change or contradict” the legally binding withdrawal agreement struck last month after two years of negotiations.
With Britain due to leave the EU on March 29, prospects now include a potentially disorderly exit with no deal agreed and no smooth transition, or even another referendum.
EU states were not in agreement on the text , however. Diplomats in Brussels expect it to change after May tells the other national leaders what she needs to push their deal through her parliament. They suggested the EU may be readying more solid assurances for May in January. Reuters