The Latest: Romania seeks to encourage British leader

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

Romania’s president has struck an optimistic note about the Brexit deal as his country prepares to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union for the first time.

Despite fierce opposition to the deal in the British Parliament, President Klaus Iohannis said Friday he expected “a positive vote from the British Parliament, not a summit.”

Iohannis said he’d meet British Prime Minister Theresa May later Friday “for a short bilateral, to encourage her a bit.”

Romania takes over the six-month EU presidency on Jan. 1. Britain’s departure from the bloc, due to take place on March 29, happens on its watch.


11:05 a.m.

Luxembourg’s prime minister has put the blame for the continuing impasse over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union clearly with the U.K. parliament and instead praised Prime Minister Theresa May for her efforts.

Xavier Bettel said that “Theresa May is clear. Westminster is not clear. The problem is the MPs in London,” highlighting how May’s fortunes to get the deal through fully lie with the House of Commons.

May already endorsed the withdrawal bill, but her chances of getting it through the U.K. parliament were so slim that she decided to postpone a vote on the deal likely until next month.

Bettel said that “for internal political reasons some people try to gamble the relations between the EU and the U.K. for the future. It’s bad. This is the best possible deal.”


10:20 a.m.

Belgium’s prime minister says European Union leaders aren’t convinced that Britain can respect their Brexit agreement and they are planning for a potentially catastrophic “no-deal” scenario.

Charles Michel said Friday that “very objectively, the signals that we heard yesterday are not especially reassuring about the capacity in Britain to be able to honor the engagement that was undertaken.”

Referring to what he called a “gigantic doubt” that British Prime Minister Theresa May can get the deal through the U.K. Parliament, Michel added: “we are going to be sure to prepare for all hypotheses, including the hypothesis of a ‘no deal.'”


10 a.m.

Croatia’s prime minister says European Union leaders could meet in January for a new Brexit summit once Britain clarifies exactly what help it needs to pass the deal in the U.K. Parliament.

Andrej Plenkovic said Friday that “if there is a need we can always convene, but nothing in that respect was concluded yesterday” during Brexit talks in Brussels.

British Prime Minister Theresa May canceled a vote in Parliament this week after it became clear the assembly would reject the Brexit deal she concluded with the EU.

EU leaders refuse outright to re-open the deal, but in a statement they did offer assurances about how it would work.

Plenkovic says that “text is a solid signal, first of all to the prime minister, but also to the U.K. Parliament.”

Categories: International News