Germany’s EU Affairs Minister Michael Roth Rules Out New Brexit Deal
By Staff, Agencies
The outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated a withdrawal agreement with the European Union [EU] following months of tough talks, but her own lawmakers have refused to support it on several occasions.
The EU is no mood to renegotiate the terms of Britain's departure from the bloc, Germany's European Affairs Minister Michael Roth said on Tuesday.
"I don't see any chances to renegotiate the package, the withdrawal agreement is the withdrawal agreement, and I don't see any appetite to start new negotiations within the European Union," Roth said ahead of a regular meeting with his EU counterparts in Luxembourg, as quoted by Reuters.
Last week, he said he sees "no willingness to restart negotiations from the beginning", and urged the candidates seeking to take Theresa May's post as Prime Minister and Tory leader to bear this in mind during their internal party campaigns.
In a bid to deliver on the 2016 referendum vote, May sealed a withdrawal agreement with the EU in November 2018, after two years of hard-fought negotiations. British MPs, however, rejected it in three votes.
The main reason for their reluctance was the so-called Irish backstop − a policy to ensure there is no 'hard border' [i.e. physical checks and infrastructure] between Northern Ireland, part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, part of the European Union. It envisages that if Britain leaves the EU without an all-encompassing deal, it stays within a temporary single customs territory with the bloc while Northern Ireland retains some rules of the EU’s single market.
The lawmakers warned that if such a policy were to be invoked, it would cut off Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK by creating an effective 'border in the Irish Sea', while also keeping the country closely tied to EU rules indefinitely.
After failing to get her deal through Parliament, May bowed to mounting pressure from her own party and stepped down as Tory leader on 7 June. The Conservative Party is expected to name a new leader − who will also replace May as Prime Minister − by the end of July.
The EU had earlier agreed to move the Brexit deadline to 31 October, paving the way for British politicians to reach a consensus and avoid a no-deal Brexit scenario − something the government says will inevitably damage the national economy.