Sebastian Kurz, the Chancellor of Austria, who currently holds the presidency of the EU, voiced hope that MPs will back Theresa May’s Brexit deal to avoid the UK crashing out of the European Union, saying that “nobody has been cheated”.
The Guardian reports Kurz speaking in Brussels following warnings from the German chancellor Angela Merkel that the EU will not go back to the negotiating table, now a document has been agreed.
“The EU is swinging into action to organise a Brexit summit of EU leaders on Sunday 25 November. Ambassadors from the EU 27 countries will meet this Sunday, followed by a ministerial meeting on Monday to prepare for the summit, it was confirmed.
At a meeting of EU ambassadors on Friday morning, France and Germany agreed that the contested issue of fishing rights could be postponed into talks on the future relationship. This is a significant move, as several member states had wanted fish quotas tied to the compromise on the Irish backstop, which allows the UK to stay in a customs union. “The deal will not be brought down by fish,” one EU diplomat said.
Spain’s ambassador voiced disappointment about arrangements on Gibraltar, but did not threaten to vote down the deal. The agreement on the Rock is a win for British diplomacy, as Spain had wanted an open-ended say on the British overseas territory.
Some problem issues have not been discussed thoroughly by the EU – notably the politically-fraught question of extending the UK’s 21-month Brexit transition. Under the current text the UK will stay subject to EU rules – with no voting rights – until the end of 2020. That transition period can be extended once, but negotiators have not specified for how long.