No more Brexit negotiations: Merkel

German leader Angela Merkel ruled out further negotiations on Brexit on Tuesday but said efforts were being made to give the U.K. reassurances after Prime Minister Theresa May abruptly pulled a vote at home because she faced defeat. With less than four months left until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, Ms. May’s Brexit deal is floundering, opening up prospects that run the gamut from a disorderly no-deal divorce to calling Brexit off. Meet with EU leaders A day after pulling the parliamentary vote in the face of ridicule from lawmakers, Ms. May rushed to The Hague for breakfast with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and then to Berlin to meet Chancellor Merkel before a trip to Brussels. The message from the EU was clear: it will give assurances about how it will interpret the exit treaty, but will not countenance reopening the text itself. In rainy Berlin, a hitch with Ms. May’s car door briefly trapped her inside, delaying her red carpet handshake with Ms. Merkel. According to two sources, Ms. Merkel told her own German conservative parliamentary group on Tuesday that there would be no further negotiations on Brexit but efforts were being made to give Britain reassurances. Ms. May had informed Ms. Merkel that the deal would have been voted down, and that it was in nobody’s interest for Britain to leave with no accord, the sources said. “The deal we achieved is the best possible. It’s the only deal possible. There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation,” European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Vote before January 21 The British Parliament will get its vote before January 21, Ms. May’s spokeswoman said. If there is no satisfactory deal by then, Parliament will still be given a debate on the issue. The most contentious issue has been the Irish “backstop”, an insurance policy that would keep Britain in a customs union with the EU in the absence of a better way to avoid border checks between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. Ms. May’s critics say it could leave Britain subject to EU rules indefinitely. Mr. Juncker said neither side intended for the backstop ever to take effect, but it had to be part of the deal just in case. Meanwhile, rebel lawmakers in Ms. May’s party said she had to go. “If we can’t go forwards with her deal… then I am afraid the only way to change the policy is to change the Prime Minister and I really think it’s her duty to go,” Brexit-supporting Conservative lawmaker Steve Baker said. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister John Major said on Tuesday that Britain must revoke its divorce notice immediately. “We need to revoke Article 50 with immediate effect. The clock, for the moment, must be stopped,” Mr. Major, who also faced a revolt inside the Conservative Party over Europe, said in a speech in Dublin. Recommend

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/eu-firmly-against-altering-brexit-deal/article25721944.ece

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