The main focus of the European Union’s leaders meetings in Brussels on December 13-14 will focus migration, reform of the Eurozone, and the bloc’s Multiannual Financial Framework.
For now, all eyes on Brexit and British Prime Minister Theresa May as European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker insist there will be no renegotiation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement that the two sides hammered out in the last few weeks.
The EU-27 wants further clarification on issues that could make a difference for May, including the so-called “backstop” for Northern Ireland, an insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border if no other solution to police the boundary is found by end f the Brexit transition period in 2020.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, spoke about the no-confidence vote that May survived earlier in the week, saying it was “very encouraging” that she fended off a leadership challenge from her own Conservatives Party, but reiterated that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot and will not be changed.
Talking to journalists afterwards, May said upon her arrival at the European Council that she feels grateful for the support. “Yesterday was a difficult day and I’m grateful for the significant support from colleagues, but I also heard loud and clear the concerns of those that didn’t support me,” adding that she would “love to be able to lead the Conservative Party” into the next UK election, but it had become clear to her that people would prefer a new leader”.
May said she would talk to European leaders about getting the backstop “assurances” she is looking for, but did not expect an immediate breakthrough”