Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to postpone a parliamentary vote on Brexit, EU negotiator Michel Barnier will discuss the
Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to postpone a parliamentary vote on Brexit, EU negotiator Michel Barnier will discuss the bloc’s next move with European lawmakers today.
All eyes are now on Brussels, as Ms May’s hopes of gaining parliament’s approval are grim. The Irish backstop remains the main source of concern for most British lawmakers, who fear the mechanism would keep London in the EU’s customs union indefinitely.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker insists that Brussels will not renegotiate the Brexit agreement, but may offer “reassurances” that it won’t trigger the backstop. Regardless, any reassurance would be worthless because the backstop will be automatically triggered if the EU and UK cannot find a long-term solution to the Irish border issue by the end of 2021. As such, it remains unlikely that a reassurance from Brussels would sway enough British lawmakers to approve the deal.
This raises the odds of either a second referendum being held—the European Court of Justice ruled on Monday that London can unilaterally reverse Brexit—or the UK leaving with no deal on March 29. While Brussels will desperately hope for the former, Mr Barnier will tell MEP’s today to prepare for the chaos of the latter.
Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.