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EU fear backstop letter will not be enough to get deal through parliament

14 Jan 2019 euronews

A letter from the EU aimed at providing reassurances to the British government over Brexit is due to be published today.

Senior sources in Brussels have told Euronews that the letter, to be written by European Council president Donald Tusk, will outline the EU’s aims regarding the Irish backstop - the most contentious part of the Brexit deal.

However the sources say they are not optimistic that the letter will be enough to close the deal in the House of Commons tomorrow.

“The letter will offer clarifications and reassurances but not reopen or contradict the Withdrawal Agreement”, a source told Euronews.

“To be honest, I don’t see it converting the DUP or other hardliners,"the source added.

Three senior sources also confirmed that the letter, which will aim to convince MPs that they won’t be “trapped” in an EU Customs Union forever, won’t be legally binding.

However, it is “obviously intended to be a sincere and political commitment.”

The backstop is a legally-binding guarantee ensuring no hard border will emerge on the island of Ireland in the future.

It is necessary as part of the UK and EU’s obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.

The source believes that the real question regarding tomorrow's vote is whether there’s "a big or small margin of defeat, as I think that's what will influence or decide what PM does next.”

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