EU Again Stands Firm on Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

(Bloomberg) --

The European Union reiterated that there can be no time limit or unilateral exit clause on the Irish-border backstop in the Brexit agreement, as both sides continued to seek a solution on the issue that would be acceptable to the U.K. Parliament.

With U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set to return to Brussels on Wednesday, EU and British officials are working on a new legal text on the Irish-border protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement. May is scheduled to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at 6.30 p.m. tomorrow.

The remaining EU governments have “repeatedly said that the protocol was only ever intended to be temporary,” U.K. Brexit Minister Martin Callanan said on Tuesday. “So we are seeking with them how we can codify that in a legally binding way that is acceptable to our Parliament, because at the end of the day we need to get Parliament to agree with it.”

But the European Commission, the EU executive, reiterated its position that the bloc “will not reopen” the Withdrawal Agreement. “We cannot accept a time limit to the backstop or a unilateral exit clause,” commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday.

“Further talks will be held this week to see whether a way through can be found that would gain the broadest possible support in the U.K. Parliament and respect the guidelines agreed by the European Council,” Schinas said.

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