May: Brexit reassurances from EU are still possible
Updated 22:16, 17-Dec-2018
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday that it was still possible to get further clarification from the European Union (EU) on the Brexit deal to help her win parliamentary approval.
May made this remark after a two-day EU summit in Brussels. 
May called her talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker "robust." 
She told reporters that her discussions with colleagues have shown that future clarification and discussion is, in fact, "possible", adding that Britain and the EU would hold more talks in the coming days.
"Negotiations like this are always tough, there are always difficult times and as you get close to the very end, then that can get even more difficult because you're absolutely sorting out the last details of something," May said.
May, who Wednesday survived a plot in her party to oust her, rejected EU criticism of “nebulous” demands from a divided British political system.
She welcomed a statement by the other leaders Thursday, describing the summit's conclusions as having “legal status.”
EU officials said the declaration of their good intentions not to bind Britain to EU rules forever was just that – not a tweak to the treaty's so-called “backstop” to avoid a hard land border for Ireland.
Leaders were united that May would get no more from them, even at the eleventh hour, to improve on a withdrawal treaty they agreed with her in Brussels just three weeks ago, officials insisted.
“There is work still to do. We will be holding talks in coming days about how to obtain the further assurances that the UK Parliament needs in order to be able to approve this deal.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron ruled out reopening last month's agreement, aimed at ensuring a smooth exit on March 29.
“We want to be helpful,” Merkel said, adding that none in the EU want the disorder that the deal's collapse would mean.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for a news conference at the European Union (EU) summit in Brussels, Belgium, December 14, 2018. /VCG Photo

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for a news conference at the European Union (EU) summit in Brussels, Belgium, December 14, 2018. /VCG Photo

Asked if there was more on offer from the European Union, summit chair Donald Tusk said there was no question of new negotiations and that he had no mandate for more meetings. He added that he remained at the disposal of the prime minister over Christmas.
Tusk went out of his way to counter British media reports of May being “humiliated” Thursday evening as leaders badgered her for clarity on what she wanted after surviving a bid this week by her own party to oust her.
“We have treated the prime minister with much greater empathy and respect than some British MPs, for sure,” he told reporters.
EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker also played down a tiff caught on camera where May remonstrated with him about his remark that Britain's position on Brexit was “nebulous”.
May herself said she accepted it had not been personal and Juncker, calling her “a woman of great courage,” joked that they had kissed and made up afterward.
Key to solving the problem, the head of the European Commission said, was “bringing down the temperature” in the debate.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, whose country's prosperity could be radically affected by the fate of its large and historically overbearing neighbor, said he too was trying to help, but that Dublin would not let the treaty be weakened.
Without a deal, a disruptive customs frontier with Britain's troubled province of Northern Ireland could be a real danger – among the many unknowns facing Europe over the coming months.
May seemed to have failed to convince EU leaders that if they granted what she asked for, she could win over Parliament – a case she had set out before dinner Thursday.
“It would be very useful for us ... to know from the United Kingdom what assurances, what guarantees, what explanations they need,” Varadkar told reporters.
Source(s): Reuters