EU makes last-minute concessions before vote
Shortly before the new vote in the House of Commons the EU has made concessions to British Prime Minister Theresa May on her Brexit deal. Legally binding changes were reportedly added to the agreement that will prevent Northern Ireland from permanently remaining in the EU single market by means of the Backstop - a scenario feared by Brexit hardliners in particular. Will they give the deal their vote later today?
Nothing new from Brussels
Antonello Guerrera, La Repubblica's UK and Ireland correspondent, doubts that the MPs will go along with the prime minister's deal this time:
“It's hard to say how the parliament will behave when May tries her luck once again today after her epic defeat on January 15. Although a number of Brexiters reacted positively to the government's announcement yesterday evening, a number of points are still unclear. First, the legal drafts have yet to be published and reviewed by the parliamentarians. Second, these concessions were already contained in the letter from Juncker and the president of the European Council Tusk from a few weeks ago. The agreement itself has not been touched.”
The hour of truth for Westminster
Even if none of the solutions are convincing the British MPs must now make a final decision, Les Echos stresses:
“The ball is now more than ever in Britain's court, even if it has tried and will no doubt go on trying to hit it back Brussels's way. Britain will have to decide between an agreement that satisfies neither the hard Brexiters nor the Remainers and other solutions that also lack a majority, for example a no-deal Brexit, a Brexit while remaining in a customs union, or the scrapping of Brexit after a new referendum. It's an impossible choice, but it's now the hour of truth for Westminster.”
Give the poor British asylum!
De Volkskrant columnist Bert Wagendrop is sick of the whole business:
“Quite honestly I've had enough of Britain's little games and the pathetic time-wasting of Theresa May, this political catastrophe. I feel sorry for the many well-intentioned British who, because of their criminally irresponsible politicians and a manipulated referendum, have ended up in a situation they never wanted but for which they will soon pay the price. I suggest we should simplify the asylum procedure for these people. ... And then we can look back on the years in which British politicians were temporarily mentally incompetent.”