UPDATE: Britain’s Parliament strongly rejects Prime Minister’s BREXIT deal in major blow to EU divorce plan. Parliament Parliament to Vote between No-deal BREXIT and Delaying Departure from EU Thursday.
UK PM Theresa May worked to win last-minute changes from the European Union to her BREXIT deal Monday, a day before a Key vote in Britain’s Parliament that could derail the country’s withdrawal from the EU.
Mrs. May flew to Strasbourg, France, for talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, seeking a way to get reluctant British legislators to back a deal that they resoundingly rejected in January.
The House of Commons is due to hold a 2nd vote on the plan Tuesday, but there are few signs either British lawmakers or EU leaders are prepared to make big shifts to push off another defeat.
The EU is unwilling to reopen an agreement it spent a 1.5 yrs negotiating, while British legislators remain split over whether to leave the single currency bloc and, if so, on what terms.
Britain is due to pull out of the EU on 29 March, but the government has not been able to win parliamentary approval for its agreement with the EU on withdrawal terms and future relations.
The impasse has raised fears of a chaotic “no-deal” BREXIT that could mean major disruption for businesses and people in Britain and the 27 remaining EU countries.
The EU is frustrated at what it sees as the inability of Britain’s weak and divided government to lay out a clear vision for BREXIT. It is irritated, too, that Britain is seeking changes to an agreement that Mrs. May herself helped negotiate.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said that the EU is “open and willing” to hold talks but that Britain needs to present new proposals for the bloc to consider.
“It is now for the House of Commons to take an important set of decisions this week,” Ms. Schinas said.
British lawmakers’ concerns about the divorce deal center on a provision designed to keep an open border between Britain’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
The mechanism, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU until a permanent new trading relationship is in place.
Brexit-supporting lawmakers in Britain fear the backstop could be used to bind the country to EU regulations indefinitely.
Ms. May wants to revise the deal to reassure opponents that the backstop would be only temporary.
The EU is unwilling to reopen the 585-page BREXIT agreement, though it has offered what it says are legally binding promises that the backstop will not be permanent.
If Parliament throws out Mrs. May’s deal again Tuesday, lawmakers will vote over the following 2 days on whether to leave the EU without an agreement or to ask the EU to delay BREXIT beyond the scheduled 29 March departure date.
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