May vows to deliver on Brexit, EU tells UK no renegotiation

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Although British Prime Minister Theresa May said she will deliver Brexit on time, the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told May that her 27 EU partner countries will not renegotiate their divorce agreement.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shakes hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 7, 2019
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shakes hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 7, 2019 (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed that she will deliver Britain’s departure from the EU on time following another session of talks with EU leaders.

Despite fundamental differences over whether the draft withdrawal agreement May negotiated with the EU should be changed to address strong objections by British lawmakers, May pledged to achieve an orderly withdrawal by the March 29 deadline.

May said on Thursday, “It is not going to be easy.”

“I’ll be negotiating hard in the coming days to do just that,” she said.

“I am clear that I am going to deliver Brexit. I am going to deliver it on time.”

Earlier on Thursday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told May in talks in Brussels that her 27 EU partner countries will not renegotiate their Brexit divorce agreement.

Juncker’s spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said the president “underlined that the EU 27 will not reopen the withdrawal agreement, which represents a carefully balanced compromise.”

Schinas says that May “raised various options” for getting around the main sticking point in the Brexit negotiations, the backstop arrangement to avoid checks on the Irish border.

TRT World ‘s Simon McGregor-Wood has more.

Describing the approximately 90-minute meeting between Juncker and May as “robust but constructive,” Schinas said that the EU and Britain have already “made significant concessions to get a deal.”

May and Juncker are due to meet again before the end of the month.

EU President Donald Tusk warned there was “no breakthrough in sight” in the Brexit deadlock, after talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

“Talks will continue,” Tusk tweeted after meeting May in Brussels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it’s possible to resolve the Brexit stalemate without opening the already-agreed divorce agreement, which she is again insisting “is not on the agenda.”

Merkel was speaking during a visit to Slovakia on Thursday.

Merkel said all sides have an interest in securing an orderly exit, “and so of course it also our duty to get such an agreement that requires Britain to tell as clearly as possible what they want.”

She stressed that the EU must “protect the integrity of our internal market” but also wants “arrangements that are important and necessary for our member state, Ireland.”

Merkel said, “I think we can find solutions without reopening the withdrawal agreement. That is not on the agenda for us.”

UK economy

The British economy is set to grow this year by its weakest rate since the global financial crisis as uncertainties over Britain’s exit from the European Union ratchet higher, the Bank of England warned on Thursday.

The central bank said the UK economy is slowing despite a modest boost from firms stockpiling as they prepare for potential disruption to trade if the country crashes out of the EU with no deal on future relations.

The Bank of England said that the Brexit uncertainties and a weaker global economy overall mean that British growth this year is likely to be 1.2 percent. That’s down sharply from the 1.7 percent predicted in November and below 2018’s 1.4 percent. It would make for the worst year in Britain since a 4.2 percent contraction in 2009.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies
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