The Latest on negotiations over Britain’s departure from the EU (all times local):
European Union foreign ministers are urging Prime Minister Theresa May to make clear Britain’s position on leaving the bloc, as the Europeans weigh whether to approve an extension to the Brexit process.
Ahead of a Brexit-focused summit of EU leaders this week, the ministers implored May once again to set out clearly what she wants from her European partners, less than two weeks before the Brexit date.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday, March 18, “We have to know what the British want: How long, what is the reason supposed to be, how it should go, what is actually the aim of the extension?”
Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said, “We are not against an extension in Belgium, but the problem is, to do what?”
May is making a last-minute push to win support for her European Union divorce deal, with attention focused on wooing Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The DUP’s 10 lawmakers are pivotal to May’s effort to overturn two overwhelming defeats in Parliament, because their support could influence hard-line members of May’s Conservative Party. Opposition has focused on the so-called backstop, designed to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
But May suffered a setback Monday when former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson refused to support her deal.
Johnson used his column in the Daily Telegraph to say that further changes are needed to the backstop, claiming it left the U.K. vulnerable to “an indefinite means of blackmail” by Brussels.