Begging in Brussels: Ms. May in Search of Divorce Concessions

Written by | Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May appealed to European leaders to help her win support for the Brexit deal in the Parliament by making a few concessions that could help sway the British representatives in favor of the agreement. “Trust me” – she urged the EU leaders, saying that she could get the deal, which they agreed with her last month, approved by the parliament – if they would only help her cross the bridge of British resistance towards the deal. “It is in none of our interests to run the risk of an accidental no deal with all the disruption that would bring, or to allow this to drag on any further,” she said.


A day after she survived an internal party vote on keeping or ousting her, Ms. May was warned that the EU would not reopen the divorce deal finalized only recently in November. EU leaders said that they could issue a kind of declaratory text aimed at easing some of the major concerns with some further concessions being made possible next month. Another option could be to put a deadline – likely end-2021 – as a non-binding target for finalizing a close EU-UK trade alliance that that would put an end to the need for the “Irish backstop”.


However, establishing a deadline is thought to be hard for some parties, including the Irish, as Ms. May is struggling to satisfy her opponents.  A “backstop” would essentially mean that Britain would abide by EU customs rules until a better way is found to make sure that no border controls are put into place. “We have to change the perception that the backstop could be a trap from which the UK could not escape. Until we do, the deal, our deal, is at risk,” Ms. May said, adding that “there is a majority in my parliament who want to leave with a deal so with the right assurances this deal can be passed.”


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