EU sends letter to UK saying Irish border backstop ‘short-term’

EU leaders have written to Theresa Could to reassure British MPs that a so-called backstop association to keep away from a tough Irish border will solely be in place “briefly”, a day earlier than a vital Home of Commons vote on the prime minister’s Brexit deal.

A 3-page letter of reassurance — cosigned by Jean-Claude Juncker, European Fee president, and Donald Tusk, EU Council chief — repeats earlier vows from Brussels on the backstop plan for preserving the UK tied to EU customs guidelines till a UK-EU free commerce deal is concluded.

Messrs Tusk and Juncker mentioned the EU “would use its finest endeavours to barter and conclude expeditiously a subsequent settlement that may change the backstop, and would count on the identical of the UK, in order that the backstop would solely be in place for so long as strictly needed”.

The dedication was set out by EU leaders in a summit final month which the letter says has “a authorized worth” within the EU.

Nevertheless, it repeats that the EU will not be in “a place to comply with something” that adjustments the substance of a legally binding divorce deal that runs to 585 pages and lays out preparations for the Irish backstop.

Mrs Could is going through a probable defeat within the Commons tomorrow, analysts say, as MPs have lined as much as oppose plans to maintain the UK in a customs union with the bloc in a transfer that Brexiters have warned is a “lure”.

Brussels additionally mentioned it could be prepared to increase the Article 50 negotiating course of if it could be sure that the deal can be ratified.

“Ought to the events want extra time to barter the following settlement, they may resolve to increase the transition interval, as foreseen within the Withdrawal Settlement. In that case, the Fee is dedicated to redouble its efforts and expects the identical redoubled efforts out of your negotiators, with the purpose of concluding a subsequent settlement very quickly” the letter mentioned.

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