BREXIT isn’t just about Britain. On the other side of the negotiating table there are 27 other European States which form the European Union. Some of them reacted as follows to the news of Monday.
EU: EU leaders will discuss Brexit at a summit this week, but “we will not renegotiate the deal,” European Council President Donald Tusk said Monday. The leaders will be in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for a European Council at which Brexit was not on the agenda, but that changed after British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed a House of Commons vote on the Brexit deal that was scheduled for Tuesday. “We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification,” Tusk wrote on Twitter. “As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario,” he said. In addition, a meeting of EU27 ambassadors is scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels to discuss the U.K.’s EU exit. Any change to the official conclusions to be agreed at the summit would require a sequence of meetings beforehand to have taken place. There is not enough time for those to occur.
Jean Claude Juncker : “I’m surprised because we had reached an agreement on the 25th November together with the government of the United Kingdom. Notwithstanding that, it would appear that there are problems right at the end of the road. We have a common determination to do everything to be not in the situation one day to use that backstop. But we have to prepare: it’s necessary for the entire coherence of what we have agreed with Britain and it is necessary for Ireland. Ireland will never be left alone.” He also said there is no room for renegotiation, but further clarifications are possible. ” There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation, but of course there is room if used intelligently, there is room enough to give further clarifications and further interpretations without opening the withdrawal agreement.
This will not happen: everyone has to note that the withdrawal agreement will not be reopened”.
Ireland: Preparations for a no-deal Brexit will intensify following Monday’s postponement of a key House of Commons vote, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and European Council president Donald Tusk have said. Mr Varadkar and Mr Tusk spoke by phone after the British prime minster, Theresa May, announced she was postponing the vote, due to take place on Tuesday, on the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
A statement from Government Buildings said both Mr Varadkar and Mr Tusk agreed that the “withdrawal agreement is the best option and could not be renegotiated”.
“They also agreed that preparations for a ‘no-deal’ outcome should intensify.” Speaking yesterday, Mr Varadkar said while he was open to further clarifications on what the withdrawal agreement says, any such clarifications cannot change its substance.
Germany: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the UK and the EU had worked hard on the draft and that he could “not see what should be changed” in further negotiations. “We want an orderly Brexit,” he said.
France: France’s minister for Europe denounced the “confusion” in Britain yesterday and said she would step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Nathalie Loiseau said it was increasingly likely that Britain would leave the EU without a divorce agreement. She told the French national assembly that Theresa May had postponed the vote on her Brexit deal because “the outcome was not certain”.
Malta: Malta will not budge on the proposed deal for Brexit, although when necessary more clarification will be given, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Tuesday during a cabinet meeting at Transport Malta’s headquarters.
The Malta Independent reports that Muscat said that the government was closely following the developments in the United Kingdom in relation to Brexit, after the vote on the deal in the House of Commons was postponed by British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday.
Sweden: I don’t think there will be a renegotiation. But I think it is in the interests of both the EU 27 and the UK to have an orderly exit out of the EU. I think everybody will try to do there best. But there will be no renegotiation. – Ann Linde, Europe minister
Politico, France24, The Times, DW, Irish Times