Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Key points in the EU-UK Brexit agreement

Boris Johnson and DUP Party leader Arlene Foster during the DUP annual conference at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Alex Kane Foster’s leadership career hangs by a thread
Lloyd Bates | 25 November, 2018, 18:47

"This is the best deal for the United Kingdom, the best deal for Europe, this is the only deal possible", Juncker said.

A summit planned for Sunday was in jeopardy when Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the last minute threatened to boycott the gathering of the 27 European Union members because he wanted guarantees how the British territory off Spain's southern coast would be treated after Great Britain's planned departure from the EU.

If the European Union signs off the withdrawal deal, Mrs May will then need to persuade MPs in the UK Parliament to back it.

The sovereignty issues around Gibraltar may have hit the headlines this week, but they are long-festering.

Sunday newspapers said different factions in her own Conservative party were preparing alternative plans to keep Britain closer to the European Union should her deal fail as many expect.

She said that the draft agreement raises constitutional questions that can't be ignored.

However, they added: "The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that we stand behind British sovereignty for Gibraltar and that we will get a deal on the future that works for the whole United Kingdom family".

But asked if she shared the sentiment, May said, "No: but I recognise that others do; I recognise that some European leaders are sad at this moment".

"It will be a deal that is in our national interest - one that works for our whole country and all of our people, whether you voted "Leave" or "Remain", she said".

She added that the DUP would "review" their agreement to prop up May's government if the deal were passed by Parliament.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was in Brussels on Saturday for last-minute talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk on the eve of an EU summit that was threatened by Spanish objections to her deal on Britain's withdrawal from the bloc.

Richard Pengelly the permanent secretary at the Department of Health
Alex Kane Foster’s leadership career hangs by a thread

Winning warm greetings from her 27 fellow leaders on Sunday will likely be easier for May than getting friendly treatment from her colleagues in government and Parliament once she returns.

In an open letter to the British public published Sunday, May promised to campaign "with my heart and soul to win that vote and to deliver this Brexit deal". But Spanish officials are concerned that a key clause in the agreement referring to U.K. -EU negotiations on their future relationship makes no mention of Gibraltar.

Instead, they say she sought to mitigate possible disaster after Britons voted to leave the world's richest free-trade zone.

The agreement paves the way for Britain's smooth departure from the bloc from the European Union side, though a bumpy ride still awaits in the U.K. In a formal statement endorsing the deal, the leaders called on European Union institutions "to take the necessary steps to ensure that the agreement can enter into force on 30 March 2019, so as to provide for an orderly withdrawal".

"I will recommend that we approve on Sunday the outcome of the Brexit negotiations".

The tiny territory of Gibraltar - ceded to Britain in 1713 but still claimed by Spain - was the only dispute left hanging ahead of the summit and had turned into an obstinate stumbling block.

Spain was furious that the article did not explicitly state that the deal would not apply to Gibraltar without their agreement - a condition that appeared in the negotiating guidelines given by the European Council to the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at the outset of the Brexit process.

After months praising the unity of the EU27 throughout the Brexit negotiations, it seemed unlikely that member states would be willing to leave one country behind in an event of such political importance.

He said: "I am totally convinced this is the only deal possible".

Prime Minister Theresa May is lobbying hard for passage, but she faces an uphill battle in Parliament in part because her own Conservative Party contains a group of disgruntled legislators who say they will oppose the deal.

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