EU summit to endorse Brexit deal on November 25

BRUSSEL, Nov 15 (INP): European Union leaders will meet on November 25 to endorse the divorce deal with Britain and a political declaration on the future relationship, the chairman of EU summits Donald Tusk said on Thursday.

“If nothing extraordinary happens, we will hold a European Council meeting in order to finalize and formalize the Brexit agreement. It will take place on Sunday, November 25th at 0900 am,” Tusk told reporters after meeting EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Prime Minister Theresa May won the backing of her senior ministers for a draft European Union divorce deal on Wednesday, freeing her to tackle the much more perilous struggle of getting parliament to approve the agreement.

More than two years after the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the EU, May told reporters outside her Downing Street residence that she had won over her divided cabinet, which includes some senior Brexiteers. “The collective decision of cabinet was that the government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration,” she said, after a five-hour meeting. Speaking over protesters shouting anti-Brexit slogans from the end of Downing Street, she said the deal, 585 pages long, was the best that could be negotiated. “When you strip away the detail, the choice before us was clear: this deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs security and our Union; or leave with no deal; or no Brexit at all,” she said. No ministers threatened to resign over the deal, which May hopes will satisfy both Brexit voters and EU supporters by ensuring close ties with the bloc after Britain leaves on March 29. But the weakest British leader in a generation now faces the ordeal of trying to push her deal through parliament, where opponents lined up to castigate the agreement, even before reading it. Brexit will pitch the world’s fifth largest economy into the unknown. Many fear it will divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional US presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China. Britain´s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on November 14, 2018, to attend the weekly Prime Minister´s Questions at the Houses of Parliament. Supporters of Brexit admit there may be some short-term pain for Britain’s $2.9 trillion (£2.23 trillion) economy. Notably, the deal will give Britain’s vast financial centre, the biggest source of its export and tax revenue, only a basic level of access to the bloc’s markets after Brexit. Such an arrangement would give Britain a similar level of access to the EU as major US and Japanese firms, while tying it to many EU finance rules for years to come. But keen Brexiteers say that, in the long term, Britain will prosper when cut free from the EU — which they cast as a failing German-dominated experiment in European integration. May gave no date for a vote in parliament but she will need the votes of about 320 of the 650 MPs. It is unclear whether she has the numbers. A senior Eurosceptic lawmaker said the cabinet decision was a majority decision, not a unanimous one. Asked if anyone had threatened to resign, a senior government official who declined to be named said “nobody”, adding: “The PM used the word ‘impassioned’ for a reason, and clearly there are strongly held views on this subject, which we acknowledge.” During the cabinet meeting, British journalists said anger among Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs was so high that they might call for a vote of no confidence in her leadership. There was no confirmation. INP/AJ