Brexit Renegotiation Dismissed: What Does the UK Actually Want?

Written by | Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

The European Union is not going to renegotiate the Brexit deal with the United Kingdom. European Council President Donald Tusk made clear (30 January 2019) in a tweet that he said was addressed specifically to British Prime Minister Theresa May. “The Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation. Yesterday, we found out what the UK doesn’t want. But we still don’t know what the UK does want,” he said.


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed that the divorce deal cannot be renegotiated because the current withdrawal agreement remains “the best and only deal possible”. “The debates and votes in the House of Commons over the past few days will not change that. The Withdrawal Agreement will not be renegotiated,” Mr. Juncker told the European Parliament. “Ireland’s border is EU’s border and is our joint priority,” Juncker said of the contentious issue of the Brexit border backstop. “Yesterday’s vote has further increased the risk of a disorderly Brexit.” Nevertheless, the EU leader also said he was an optimist and hence believed “there can and will be agreement with UK.”


About two months into the withdrawal, the British parliament said to its Prime Minister to go back and revise the deal, especially regarding the “Irish backstop” meant to make sure that the border between Ireland, an EU member, and the British province of Northern Ireland. Michel Barnier, EU’s chief negotiator, said that the two-year divorce talks had looked for an alternative to the issue of the Irish border. There are concerns that the re-enactment of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland could spark sectarian violence and thus revive the Northern Ireland conflict, also known as the Troubles.


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