The European Union ruled out renegotiating the Brexit divorce treaty or its Irish border protocol on Tuesday as Prime Minister Theresa May sought last ditch assurances from the bloc to save her deal after pulling a vote she acknowledged she would lose.
Less than four months until the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29, May finally accepted that British lawmakers would reject her deal. But she said the only other options were a disorderly no-deal divorce, or a reversal of Brexit that would defy the will of those who voted for it.
The BBC reports:
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU would not “renegotiate” the deal but there was room for “further clarifications”. The prime minister is understood to be seeking legal guarantees that the UK will not be trapped in the Northern Ireland backstop plan indefinitely.
Critics object to the backstop – a temporary customs arrangement designed to prevent the need for checkpoints at the Irish border if a long-term solution that avoids them cannot be agreed – because it imposes different regulations in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
They also object to the fact that under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, the UK can not exit the backstop without the EU agreeing.