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EU rules out renegotiating Brexit deal (again)

The European Union has reiterated its position that the Brexit deal agreed with UK Prime Minister Theresa Ma...

Posted: Jan 3, 2019 10:48 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2019 10:48 AM

The European Union has reiterated its position that the Brexit deal agreed with UK Prime Minister Theresa May will not be renegotiated.

Several British lawmakers continue to argue that the EU will want to avoid a so-called "no deal" outcome, and could be forced into changes if the UK's Parliament refuses to back the deal on the country's scheduled departure from the bloc in March.

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But speaking in Brussels on Thursday, the European Commission's deputy chief spokesperson Mina Andreeva rejected that idea.

"For now, no further meetings are foreseen between the Commission's negotiators and the UK negotiators as negotiations have indeed been concluded," she said.

"We are not renegotiating what is on the table."

The British Parliament is due to vote on May's Brexit deal later this month, but many lawmakers have already indicated they will vote against it.

A vote was due to take place in mid-December but the PM pulled the plug when it became clear she would lose "by a significant margin," she admitted.

May then survived a confidence motion triggered by members of her own party, before meeting with EU leaders in an attempt to renegotiate the deal.

However her overtures were rejected and now the EU has said, once again, that the existing deal is the only one available.

Brexit supporters are worried that Britain might end up staying in the EU if May's deal is voted down in parliament.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, a prominent Brexit supporter, warned that there is a "50-50" chance Brexit won't happen if Parliament rejects May's deal.

However, as things stand, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 whether or not an agreement is in place.

The prospect of a "no deal" Brexit has stoked worries over the potential for massive disruption to almost every aspect of British life.

The UK would suddenly no longer be a party to the legislative and regulatory framework that has governed its external trade and much of its internal economy for the past four decades, and experts said there was simply not enough time to put in place an alternative framework.

"The UK is not prepared because it is simply too big a question to be prepared for," David Henig, a former government trade official and director of the UK Trade Policy Project, told CNN.

In preparation the government has released an additional £2 billion ($2.5 billion) from the UK Treasury to help mitigate these consequences -- in addition to the £4.2 billion already allocated since 2016.

There are plans to place 3,500 troops on standby, but business and lobby groups still warn of disruptions at ports, dwindling medical supplies and potential food shortages.

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