The European Union won’t allow U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to reopen negotiations over the Brexit divorce deal – but it could offer some of the reassurances she says she wants, officials said.
The EU is prepared to add wording to the effect it has no wish to force the U.K. into a never-ending “backstop” arrangement in the absence of a broader trade deal and it will do all it can to avoid it, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the matter.
May told U.K. lawmakers on Monday that she would do “everything I possibly can” to secure assurances on the backstop from the EU.
But while the EU is prepared to publish a declaration over the backstop, it wouldn’t be legally binding and there’s little chance of wholesale changes to the draft divorce treaty, the officials said.
In effect that means that the message from EU leaders, who hold a summit in Brussels this week, won’t be dramatically different from the one they gave when they signed the deal off last month: there’s no other version available. They’re also likely to call for preparations to be accelerated in case the U.K. crashes out of the bloc without an agreement.
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