Theresa May's Brexit Deal Still Hobbled by Irish-Border Issue

Former Prime Minister of Portugal Jose Manuel Barroso called on the EU to compromise

After the resignations of three of her party's lawmakers over Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May came away from more talks on preventing the United Kingdom from crashing out of the European Union with both she and the EU's chief deeming their meeting "constructive" Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to return to Brussels on Wednesday in a new effort to re-open the terms of the Brexit divorce deal.

May met with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday hoping for movement on the contentious backstop, as fears grow Britain could crash out of the bloc without a deal on March 29.

The two leaders said they tasked the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay "with considering the process the European Commission and the United Kingdom will follow".

"We are listening and working with the United Kingdom government ... for an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March".

It goes on to say that if May refuses to do so, then senior ministers would vow to support the Cooper amendment in order to allow for parliament to take the option of a no-deal outcome off the table before deadline day on 29 March.

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Juncker said on Tuesday that "if the British ask for a delay, to leave not on March 29 but later, no one in Europe will want to stand in the way", but if Britain is still a member when European Parliament elections are held in late May it will have to participate in the vote.

"If you can get to a place where the potential longevity of the backstop - the potential that the backstop lasts for ever - can be adequately dealt with, that's what we are all seeking to do", he said.

Unless Britons can rally behind an alternative, Brexit is the default, he said.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. "Brexit is the past, it is not the future", he said to the committee. Only when they're sure it'll do the trick would they then get European Union leaders to sign off on the text at a summit, two officials told Bloomberg.

"I don't think it's the mechanism that matters, it's the objective", he told the BBC's Andrew Marr.

The EU has squarely refused London's demands to rewrite the backstop even though the prime minister claims it is the final stumbling block to her getting a deal through the House of Commons.

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Mrs May's official spokesman said she wanted to bring the deal back before Parliament "as soon as possible".

A second diplomat, briefed on the May-Juncker talks, confirmed the European Union would only signal this was the direction of travel before May faces another more votes parliament.

"If no deal were to happen, and I cannot exclude this, this would have awful economic and social consequences in Britain and on the continent, so my efforts are oriented in a way that the worst can be avoided".

The EU hasn't yet been presented with a possible compromise text by the United Kingdom and the mood on the European side is far gloomier than the one suggested by the British government, two officials said. Most agree the so-called Northern Irish backstop contained in the Withdrawal Agreement is unnaceptable.

The statement added: "Both reconfirmed their commitment to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland and to respect the integrity of the EU's internal market and of the United Kingdom".

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