EU President Donald Tusk will meet British Prime Minister Theresa May for “last-minute talks” to try to help save the Brexit deal ahead of a crucial European summit.
“Ahead of #EUCO I will meet PM @theresa_may for last-minute talks,” Tusk tweeted.
May comes to the EU summit in Brussels after postponing an attempt to ratify the Brexit treaty, only to have to face down a bid from fellow Conservative MPs to unseat her.
The other 27 EU countries have drawn up a six-paragraph statement designed to appease concerns about the “Irish backstop” in the Brexit withdrawal and ease the deal’s passage through the British parliament.
According to European diplomats, the leaders will not allow the backstop nor the deal itself — which was only agreed at the end of last month — to be renegotiated at this stage.
But the statement, which could be issued at the summit, would declare that any backstop “would only be in place for a short period and only as long as strictly necessary.”
And it will add: “The union stands ready to examine whether any further assurances can be provided. Such assurances will not change or contradict the withdrawal agreement”.
This would not be the legally binding promise that British eurosceptics are seeking that the measure to keep the Irish border open would not be used to bind the UK into a customs union indefinitely