Completed on 17th December 2018
Early this morning, just about 00:30 am Donald Tusk (President of the Council) explained the joint position adopted by the EU 27 on the Brexit deal after listening Theresay May’s calls for further assurances needed to unlock the ratification process of the withdrawal agreement at the British Parliament.
The PM of the UK, Theresa May, meets Donald Tusk (President of the Council) just before the EU Council meeting on 13th Dec. 2018. © European Union.
The Prime Minister of the UK decided delaying the vote on the withdrawal agreement at the House of Commons, given the widespread oposition to the deal that would have led to a no vote at the Parliament. She turned to the EU leaders looking for both legal binding and political assurances, but the EU 27 just released a political declaration that adds almost nothing to the official position of EU Institutions that are not negotiating anything before the ratification of the current “divorce” agreement by UK Parliament.
May unveiled after the Council special meeting on Brexit that the vote on the withdrawal agreement will take place at The House of Commons on the 14th January 2019 week.
The EU 27 joint answer to May’s request for guarantees
Find below Tusk’s official declaration on Brexit aftehr the EU Council started off yesterday:
“I will start with Brexit. Today Prime Minister May informed the leaders about the difficulties with ratifying the deal in London and asked for further assurances that would, in her view, unlock the ratification process in the House of Commons. After discussing the Prime Minister’s intervention among 27 leaders, and bearing in mind our full respect for the parliamentary process in the United Kingdom, we have agreed the following:
“1. The European Council reconfirms its conclusions of 25 November 2018, in which it endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and approved the Political Declaration. The Union stands by this agreement and intends to proceed with its ratification. It is not open for renegotiation.
2. The European Council reiterates that it wishes to establish as close as possible a partnership with the United Kingdom in the future. It stands ready to embark on preparations immediately after signature of the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure that negotiations can start as soon as possible after the UK’s withdrawal.
EU Council keeps a minute of silence for the victims of the Strasbourg attack. Photo, © European Union
3. The European Council underlines that the backstop is intended as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland and ensure the integrity of the Single Market. It is the Union’s firm determination to work speedily on a subsequent agreement that establishes by 31 December 2020 alternative arrangements, so that the backstop will not need to be triggered.
4. The European Council also underlines that, if the backstop were nevertheless to be triggered, it would apply temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement that ensures that a hard border is avoided. In such a case, the Union would use its best endeavours to negotiate and conclude expeditiously a subsequent agreement that would replace the backstop, and would expect the same of the United Kingdom, so that the backstop would only be in place for as long as strictly necessary.
5. The European Council calls for work on preparedness at all levels for the consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal to be intensified, taking into account all possible outcomes.”
Probably not enough for the House of Commons
At her arrival lat the Council meeting May told about showing” the members of the Council the “legal and political guarantees that I think we need.”
It does not seem, therefore, that a simple declaration of good intentions or a mere political declaration by the 27 can overcome the strong resistance of the members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, so we can expect that the MoP will vote no to an agreement that they don’t support for many reasons included the backstop.
Should the House of Commons not aprove the withdrawal agreement without any ammendment, the British Prime Minister has already made clear that her intention is to leave the European Union, even without an agreement, since that was what it was, to separate from the EU what the citizens decided in their day.
Theresa May (PM of the UK) talks to the press at her arrival at the EU Council meeting on 13th December 2018. Caption of the video provided by the EU Council presss bureau.
“I know that the 27 will also discuss the plan of action for an eventual exit without agreement and also the Government of the United Kingdom,” warned the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom upon her arrival at the Council meeting.
Meanwhile, more and more people in the UK are asking for a second referendum to vote on the concrete exit agreement that Theresa May has achieved.
Although May says that the main obstacle to the approval of the exit agreement is the Irish backstop, the truth is that criticisms also include many related to the fact that the United Kingdom and the british companies will be in a much worse economic and competitive situation than the one they now enjoy as members of the EU.
The British Prime Minister has in her hands the power either to choose the hard Brexit way or even that UK remains as a member of the European Union. But she only considers the hard brexit option. And the no agreement exit would not benefit neither the United Kingdom nor any of the members of the European Union.
Image over the headline.- Donald Tusk, President of the EU Council (right) and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission (left) at the press confernece held just after the EU Council meeting held on 13th December 2018. © Unión Europea.
Related Eastwind links:
Estatements by Theresa May at her arrival at the EU Council meeting yesterday (video) -includes transcript in Spanish-
EU and UK reach technical agreement on Brexit
Brexit.- DUP denies support to the Withdrawal Agreement under current terms
May winns against the vote of no confidence promoted by Conservative party hard brexit supporters (quote Economic Times)
IMF on the UK.- Growth slower and Brexit is partly to blame
More information typing Brexit in the search box up on the right side of Eastwind web page.