United Kingdom and European Union reach agreement on draft declaration over future ties

24 November, 2018, 00:15 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • For U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May it's been a turbulent week of political ups and downs

A Brexit deal is "within our grasp", Theresa May said on Thursday (22 November) after negotiators concluded a political declaration on what EU-UK relations should look like post-Brexit.

Mrs Foster argued that the EU Withdrawal Agreement as it stands will not get the support of parliament.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the draft declaration on future ties had been agreed in principle, pending leaders' sign-off on Sunday.

The pound leapt by about one percent against the dollar and also firmed against the euro on news of the declaration, struck after through-the-night talks between British and European Union negotiators.

Spain's prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, has said his government is "annoyed" over the issue of Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the Spanish coast, and France is understood to have sought amendments to the wording on fishing rights in United Kingdom waters.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez has vowed to "veto Brexit" if there are no changes to the UK's draft agreement with Brussels.

Spain's eleventh-hour objection over Gibraltar prevented the European Union on Friday from clearing the last hurdle before a leaders' summit on Sunday is due to endorse the Brexit deal with Britain.

May will make a statement in the British Parliament on the state of Brexit negotiations on Thursday, the opposition Labour Party said.

Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo criticized Spain's insistence on a written guarantee, saying Gibraltar - a largely self-governing British overseas territory - "has demonstrated that we actually want a direct engagement with Spain on issues".

May will arrive for more talks with the head of the EU's executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Brussels late on Saturday, just hours before the summit is due to start.

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Representatives from all 28 European Union countries are due to meet Friday to prepare for the summit, which is seen as a pivotal moment in the Brexit process.

A European diplomat told AFP that Gibraltar had been the sole remaining bone of contention in the meeting of so-called "diplomatic sherpas" - who guide their national leaders to the summit.

The main question mark is over whether Spain, seeing Brexit as an opportunity to swing the EU's weight behind its 300-year campaign to reclaim Gibraltar from Britain, can be persuaded to remain patient.

The two sides commit to "an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defense and wider areas of cooperation".

"Over time Northern Ireland's rules and regulations will diverge away from those in our biggest market".

"A backstop is a fall-back position, an insurance that you hope not to have to use", it said.

"There are alternative arrangements that can be put in place without the need for the backstop", he said.

He repeated his threat that Spain will vote against the planned agreement unless its interests are taken into account.

Spain wants the future of the tiny territory at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula - ceded to Britain in 1713 but still claimed by Spain - to be a bilateral issue between Madrid and London.

The minister, a former Remain campaigner who replaced Leave-backing Esther McVey in the Cabinet following her resignation last week, said she expected MPs to back Mrs May's plan after peering into the "abyss" and pulling back.

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