Prime Minister Theresa May (Daily Mail)
PARIS AFP March2, 2019-The European Union is prepared to give Britain further Brexit guarantees to help a divorce deal through the British parliament, the bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said in an interview published Saturday.
“We can find guarantees to confirm, clarify, guarantee the goodwill and good faith of the Europeans with commitments which would have real legal force,” Barnier said in comments published in several European newspapers including Die Welt in Germany and Les Echos in France.
Barnier also suggested European leaders would be amenable to a short “technical” delay in Britain’s departure from the EU, scheduled for March 29, to give the British parliament time to formally ratify a final divorce deal.
The British parliament rejected the original Brexit deal hammered out by Prime Minister Theresa May and EU leaders. The major sticking point was the so-called “backstop” plan for the Irish border. Some MPs fear the arrangement, which would keep Britain tied to EU trade rules until another way is found to keep the frontier open, is a “trap” that could bind it to European commerce rules indefinitely.
Barnier said there was “misunderstanding” over the proposed backstop deal.
“Limiting it in time or introducing a unilateral exit clause would call into question its credibility,” the EU’s top Brexit negotiator insisted.