As the EU Commission waits to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement with the UK, several unresolved issues including the backstop with Northern Ireland as well as fierce opposition from British MPs continue to plague negotiations, with PM May postponing the “meaningful” parliamentary vote on Brexit to 15 January.
EU leaders will not renegotiate the Brexit deal with the UK agreed upon in December with UK prime minister Theresa May, the European Commission stated. Brussels expects the UK to withdraw from the EU under a no-deal scenario, EU officials said.
“The deal that is on the table is the best and the only deal possible,” chief EC spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters on Friday regarding her phone conversation between Mrs. May and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker. “This deal will not be renegotiated.”
No talks have been planned between EU and UK negotiators as they “negotiations are complete”, he continued.
Talks between Junker and May were deemed “friendly” and further conversations would continue this week, Mrs. Schinas said.
PM May has struggled to win support from Westminster for her embattled Brexit draft plan, which Parliament expects to vote on next week. The UK Prime Minister held talks with EU officials at a summit 14 December, where she urged leaders to change terms within the draft plan.
What is the EU ‘Contingency Action Plan’?
The United Kingdom will leave the EU in “100 days’ time” as uncertainty around the UK withdrawal agreement agreed on 25 November prompted the EU to ready its ‘Contingency Action Plan’, EU officials said in a press release in December.
The plan would implement 14 measures in limited areas to mitigate disruptions from a “no-deal” Brexit scenario within the EU27, including “financial services, air transport, customs, and climate policy, amongst others”, it continued. The EC urged implementation of the contingencies by 30 March in order to “limit the most significant damage caused by a ‘no-deal’ scenario in these areas”.
Ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement before 30 March will end EU law in the UK on 1 January 2021, with a transition period of 21 months. However, without ratification before the deadline, the “cliff-edge” Brexit scenario will apply where EU law will end immediately on 30 March.