EU rejects UK's new push for changing Brexit deal
Iran Press TV
Wed Jan 30, 2019 01:41PM
The European Union leaders have roundly rejected a fresh push by Britain to change the country's withdrawal agreement.
French President Emmanuel Macron's office said Wednesday that the EU could not renegotiate the draft Brexit deal signed in November, saying a Tuesday amendment passed in the British parliament to let the government change the Brexit deal was not credible enough.
A spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk also said that demands in the British parliament for changing the backstop, a clause in the Brexit deal which sets out rules for future administration of the Irish border, were not acceptable.
Irish European Affairs minister Helen McEntee, whose country is an EU member, said the backstop, which many critics of the Brexit deal believe could entrap UK in EU's customs union indefinitely, was part of the withdrawal deal and not up for negotiation.
"This is a deal which was negotiated with the UK, by the UK, signed off by the UK and the prime minister - and now it looks as though this evening, essentially, there is a row-back and a reneging on the commitments that were made," said the Irish government.
The comments came after a majority of lawmakers in the House of Commons, 317 to 301, voted in favor of a government-devised amendment, which allows the backstop to be replaced with unspecified "alternative arrangements."
The amendment stipulates that if the backstop is removed from Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, the parliament would back the agreement which had been rejected by a large majority in the Commons on January 15.
May has little more than two months to secure an agreement in the Commons that could guarantee a smooth withdrawal from the EU two years after the British public decided in a referendum to quit the European project after more than four decades.
Opposition lawmakers have also come up with amendments to force the government to rule out a no-deal Brexit. However, experts say the highly-feared scenario could practically take place on March 29 if May's government fails to persuade the EU to change the current Brexit deal.
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