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Mays Brussels travel fails to give Brexit breakthrough

Brussels (AFP) – Theresa May made a lightning trip to Brussels on Wednesday to lobby EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker, but…

Brussels (AFP) – Theresa May made a lightning trip to Brussels on Wednesday to lobby EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker, but left with a planned Brexit agreement summit which was still in balance.

With less than four days until Sunday, a spokesman from the European Commission said: “Very good progress was made to meet President Juncker and Prime Minister Theresa May.”

But she added: “The work continues.”

Negotiators hammer details of a political statement on future EU-EU relations that will follow the divorce agreement, under pressure to merge it before the member’s top diplomats meet on Friday.

After holding another parliamentary barbeque at the Prime Minister’s questions in London, the British leader broke out of the Westminster Bear pit and crossed the channel to meet the executive of the EU Executive.

Having seen – at least for the moment – a potential leadership challenge of hard Brexiteers in its own party, I hoped that Brussels would break out a Brexit arrangement that she could sell to her parliament.

The withdrawal treaties themselves are absolutely final and preparations are being made for the Sunday Summit to sign it, but it is still about the parallel 20-page political declaration on future relations.

European diplomats and EU officials have had intense talks about the declaration this week. One of them told AFP that they are now expecting to publish it on Thursday morning after May afternoon with Juncker.

Neither side has much wiggle room left to polish the text, but May must show that she has not left anything on the table to convince British parliamentarians to ratify the agreement in the next few weeks.

May and Juncker were expected to include fishing rights and merchandise after Brexit, as well as the transitional period and British

– Spain, N. Ireland press –

May faces pressure from her Northern Irish allies who oppose an agreement they say weakens the British sovereignty in their province, and from Spain, who warned of it, could oppose the Gibraltar agreement.

Madrid wants veto to apply transitional relations to Gibraltar, but tell MEPs that Britain “will not exclude Gibraltar from our negotiations on the future e-relationship”.

There are frustration among some EU countries in Spain trying to play hardball so late in the game.

“We are following the latest developments with growing concern and lack of understanding – among EU27, our Spanish friends are all alone in this,” said an EU diplomat to AFP.

Two of the top ministers of corn last week, including her Brexit secretary, while parliamentarians from all sides came against the revocation – increasing the chance that Britain will crash the Union on March 29 without agreement.

A minister who opposed Brexit and who returned to corn cabinet in a turnaround triggered by departures tried to rule out this economically disturbing scenario.

“I think Parliament, House of Commons, will not stop any agreement … There is not a majority in the House to allow it to take place.” Labor and Pension Secretary Amber Rudd told BBC Radio.

The revocation covers the United Kingdom’s fine ncial settlement, foreign nationals rights, contingency plans to keep open the Irish border and the conditions for a transition after the transition.

Officials now expect to follow the accompanying account of the future trade and security relationship after Britain leaves the EU’s Internal Market and Customs Union in March.

– “Show our dissatisfaction” –

Resistance to the agreement is also built in the prox Brexit camp.

On Monday, members of the Democratic Party Party of the Northern Ireland (DUP) resigned from three budget votes in the Commons and voted against a fourth, despite returning to the government on financial issues.

The conservative in Europe has also hurt the divorce agreement, as they say, Britain is too close to the EU.

Rebels led by MP Jacob Rees-Mogg failed in attempting to force an immediate trustee in May’s leadership, but warned that they would continue to try.

The agreement provides plans for a 21-month transition after Brexit, where the UK and the EU want to change their agreement on the future relationship to a full trade agreement.

But controversially it says that if that agreement is not agreed on time, Britain will have a “backstop” arrangement to maintain its land border with Ireland.

This would keep the whole of Britain in the EU Customs Union and Northern Ireland also in parts of the single market.

burs-dc / pdw / pvh

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