European Union chief says Brexit text on future ties agreed

European Union chief says Brexit text on future ties agreed

Troy Powers
November 23, 2018

Sterling jumped to a one-week high on Thursday after Britain and the European union agreed on a text setting out their post-Brexit ties that can be endorsed by EU leaders at a summit.

May also underscored the cooperation that has led to a preliminary agreement on memorandums of understanding on a set of issues of particular concern to the communities that live in and around Gibraltar, including taxation and cross-border workers.

The deal must still be approved by the leaders of the individual EU states at a special EU Council meeting on Sunday.

Although a vote was not legally necessary - ratification is only needed in the European Parliament and the British parliament - Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar wanted to show that politicians from all sides supported his position, the report noted.

British MPs of all parties criticized the divorce agreement announced last week, which includes a financial settlement and a controversial plan to avoid a hard Irish border.

Sanchez previously said Spain would vote against the Political Declaration as it is not happy with the clause regarding Gibraltar's future relations with the EU.

He noted, however, that "nobody knows for sure" what would happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Having seen off - at least for now - a potential leadership challenge by hardline Brexiteers in her own party, she hoped to wring out of Brussels a Brexit arrangement that she can sell to her parliament.

The deal was struck after through-the-night talks between British and EU negotiators, which followed a last-minute visit to Brussels by May for a meeting with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

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It comes after her former Brexit secretary tells the BBC that the prime minister's deal is worse than remaining in the EU.

A No.10 spokesman said that the Cabinet had already given its approval for the political declaration on Tuesday, but the PM held a conference call on Thursday updating them with the latest final version.

May is under intense pressure from pro-Brexit and pro-EU British lawmakers opposing the divorce deal.

On Monday, MPs from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) abstained on three budget votes in the Commons and voted against a fourth, despite their deal to back the government on finance matters.

Spain's stance is opposed by both London and Belfast, where Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said a deal that took almost two years to negotiate "should not be changed now".

"And for those who are passionately committed to ensuring that we leave the European Union on the 29th of March, 2019, one of the things that they are going to have to bear in mind is the possibility that in that chaos that would ensue there may be no Brexit".

Spain is demanding that future European Union talks with the not cover Gibraltar, and it wants to have the final say over any future arrangements in that regard.

May, who spoke to Prime Minister Sanchez about the issue on Thursday, took a firm line, however.

Spain's junior minister for the EU, Luis Marco Aguiriano, said Friday that officials could tweak article 184 to make it clear that future relations between the EU and Gibraltar "will be negotiated with the United Kingdom with Spain's prior consent".