Deadline looming: What has Theresa May done to find her way out?
By You Yang, Li Jingyi
01:59

The clock is ticking for the UK's final decision. 

As the country is set to leave the European Union (EU) on March 29, only 49 days remain for the two sides to reach a deal. 

For UK Prime Minister Theresa May, this week is quite a busy one to tide over. After her meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a glimpse of the happy ending may be seen as Varadkar said "a deal can be done" regarding Brexit.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh, the official Irish State guest house in Dublin, Ireland, February 8, 2019. /Reuters Photo

UK Prime Minister Theresa May met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh, the official Irish State guest house in Dublin, Ireland, February 8, 2019. /Reuters Photo

However, it seems that the EU, the other party of the divorce case, does not share that optimism. 

This Thursday, May flew to Brussels, trying to convince the continent to accept binding changes in the Irish border or face a "no-deal" Brexit. But the bloc's leaders appeared to have little interest in doing so. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said he would not remove the provision or re-open the legally binding Brexit deal over two years, but he agreed to rework the political declaration set between the two sides. 

And this came after European Council President Donald Tusk ignited a blaze of anger in the UK by some comments. He said that he has been wondering “what a special place in hell looks like for those who proposed Brexit without giving a sketch of a plan on how to cover it.”

May told reporters after the meetings that Tusk's language “caused widespread dismay in the UK. The point I made to him was that we should both be working to ensure that we can deliver a closer relationship between the UK and the EU in the future, and that's what he should be focusing on.”

Anti-Brexit electronic banner on behalf of The People's Vote in Westminster on January 15, 2019, London, UK. /VCG Photo

Anti-Brexit electronic banner on behalf of The People's Vote in Westminster on January 15, 2019, London, UK. /VCG Photo

A closer relationship after divorce? 

UK lawmakers rejected the deal put forward by May and her EU negotiators last month. The UK's opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, put forward his demands to May on the Brexit deal last week, including customs, the market and future security arrangements. A new vote is being planned for the week beginning February 25. 

Without a deal in place or an extension of the talks, the UK is due to crash out of the bloc without a safety net. An uncontrolled departure could set off economic and social chaos on both sides of the English Channel.