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25 November 2018

POLITICO: EU to UK: Lose-lose Brexit deal is best you will get

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“This is the only deal possible,” Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared, issuing a pointed message to the British House of Commons shortly after EU27 leaders approved the deal agreed by Theresa May.

At present, the British prime minister does not have the votes needed for ratification — a grim reality that she did not disguise from her EU colleagues on Sunday. Indeed, a clear majority seems to exist only in opposition to a potentially catastrophic cliff-edge scenario. But Juncker and other EU leaders sought to insist that there would be no renegotiating the divorce treaty.

“I am totally convinced that this is the only deal possible,” Juncker said, standing with Council President Donald Tusk and the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, at a news conference following an extraordinary EU leaders’ summit. “Those who do think by rejecting the deal that they would have a better deal will be disappointed in the first seconds after the rejection of this deal.”

Other EU leaders were equally adamant. “There isn’t a plan B,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar declared. “The truth is what we have here is the best deal that’s available both for the United Kingdom and for the European Union.”

May, too, sought to reiterate the point. After months and months of countering the rhetoric of EU leaders, she now finds herself echoing them, more aligned (on this at least) with Juncker than with say, Boris Johnson, and dozens of other MPs in her own party.

“The point Jean-Claude Juncker was making, and it’s been reiterated by others, was that if people think somehow there’s another negotiation to be done, that’s not the case,” she told reporters after the summit. “This is … the result of what [have] been tough and difficult negotiations over a significant period of time. We’ve said this is the deal that’s on the table, this is the best possible deal. It’s the only possible deal.” [...]

Sporting a funereal black tie, French President Emmanuel Macron confessed a “certain sadness to see Europe shrinking.” But he too sought to avoid the question of what would follow a rejection of the deal by MPs. “[It is] not up to me to speculate on the British vote,” he said, adding that he would “not interfere.” [...]

Full article on POLITICO



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