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EU leader rejects Theresa May's call to redo Brexit deal

By Clyde Hughes
EU leader rejects Theresa May's call to redo Brexit deal
British Prime Minister Theresa May was denied a request to open renegotiations in her plan to leave the European Union. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The European Union has rejected an effort by British Prime Minister Theresa May to renegotiate its Brexit deal, saying it's not the coalition's job to satisfy lawmakers in London.

After surviving a no-confidence vote in Britain's House of Commons this week, May had hoped to talk the 28-member alliance into placing a 12-month limit on the divisive issue of a backstop in Ireland. Such a move would've allowed May to try and assuage lawmakers unhappy with her planned Brexit deal by opening new negotiations.

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"Our U.K. friends need to say what they want, rather than asking what we want," European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker said, The Guardian reported. "We would like in a few weeks for our U.K. friends to set out their expectations because this debate is sometimes nebulous and imprecise and I would like clarifications."

The 12-month backstop limited has already been rejected by Ireland, along with France, Sweden, Spain and Belgium. Germany and Austria, though, had supported such an idea in the past.

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In an earlier speech, May called on the EU to "hold nothing in reserve, let's work intensively to get this over the line." She said a time-limited backstop and other revisions would be the only way she could get the unpopular deal through British Parliament.

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Hardline Brexit supporters have pushed May to take a stronger stand in negotiations, fearing that no deal would damage the economies of Britain and the EU, compelling them to work out a compromise more favorable to them.

May has said Britain will leave the European Union by the end of March, with or without a deal. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, though, said only Britain has made the threat of leaving the EU without a deal.

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"In terms of a no deal, let's not forget ultimately, it is within the gift of the U.K. government and the U.K. Parliament to take the threat of no deal off the table," Varadkar said Thursday, CNN reported.

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