EU Leaders Seal BREXIT Deal, Call on Britons to Back PM May
Sunday, EU leaders warned the British parliament not to wreck Prime Minister Theresa May’s BREXIT deal, saying a package agreed is the best Britain will get.
“Those who think that, by rejecting the deal, they would get a better deal, will be disappointed,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters after the 27 other EU leaders formally endorsed a treaty setting terms for British withdrawal in March and an outline of a future EU-UK trade pact.
Asked whether there was any chance Brussels would reopen the pact if an alliance of pro- and anti-BREXIT forces votes it down in the House of Commons, Juncker simply stressed “this is the best deal possible” — although Summit Chairman Donald Tusk sounded more guarded, saying he did not want to consider hypothetical’s.
Mrs. May used a post-Summit news conference to pitch for her plan, telling television viewers at home that it was the “only possible deal,” offering control of UK borders and budgets while maintaining close cooperation with EU regulations that was good for business and the security of the broader region.
“In any negotiation, you do not get everything you want. I think the British people understand that,” said Mrs. May, who arrived after the endorsement to voice hopes for continued close ties.
Parliament’s vote could open the door to a “brighter future” or condemn the country to more division, she said. “I will make the case for this deal with all my heart,” she added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the bloc’s veteran guiding force, echoed that unwillingness to speculate on what she called a “historic day” that was both “tragic and sad.” But Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country chairs EU meetings till the end of the year, said there could be no more negotiations.
“There is no Plan B,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “If anyone thinks in the United Kingdom that by voting No something better would come out of it, they are wrong.”
European Council President Tusk said the bloc was determined to have as close as possible a partnership with Britain, which has long been skeptical about EU integration: “We will remain friends until the end of days. And one day longer,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Britain’s BREXIT vote showed Europe needed reform. He stressed that Paris would hold Britain to tight EU regulations, in return for giving it easy trade access.
Britain could also simply crash out on 29 March, as both sides have been making preparations for such a “no deal” scenario. The GBP has strengthened since the deal came together over the past 10 days, but companies and investors remain cautious.