The British prime minister, Theresa May, and the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, agreed on Thursday in Brussels to hold new talks on the Brexit, when the scenario of a divorce with the agreement in a stalemate.
“Despite the challenges, both leaders agreed that their teams should hold talks on whether a solution can be found that gets as much support as possible in the UK Parliament and respects the European Council’s guidelines,” according to a joint statement.
In the “firm but constructive” discussion, both leaders also agreed to meet again at the end of February to “take stock of these talks,” adds the statement published at the end of the meeting between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker.
The British ‘Premier’ traveled to Brussels with the intention of convincing its partners of the need to modify the Brexit agreement and avoid the dreaded scenario of an abrupt divorce, less than two months after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom scheduled on 29 of March.
The conservative leader, 62, reiterated the desire of the British Parliament, which in January voted against the divorce agreement, to seek a “legally binding change in the terms of the safeguard” designed to avoid a border for goods on the island of Ireland, according to the statement.
The British Members want to avoid that this safeguard, which also seeks to protect the Good Friday Peace Agreement of 1998, causes the United Kingdom to be trapped in the networks of a customs territory with the EU that prevents it from negotiating trade agreements with third parties.
Although this mechanism would only be used as a last resort, if a better solution in the negotiation of the future relationship between the two cannot be achieved, Westminster urged May to reach alternative arrangements for the issue of Ireland with the EU.
Although the statement does not detail the “various options” raised by May, Downing Street had ensured that these passed by fixing a temporary limit to the mechanism, a unilateral exit from it or the use of technology for dematerialized customs controls.
Juncker responded that the 27 UK partners “will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement”, but was open to reworking the Political Declaration, which accompanies it and lays the foundations for the future relationship between both, especially in commercial matters, face “be more ambitious.”
A spokesman for the EU executive explained at a press conference that European negotiator Michel Barnier will meet Monday with the British minister of Brexit in Strasbourg.