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15 Jan, 2019 22:03

'Only positive solution': EU chiefs hint at 2nd referendum after May's Brexit deal defeat

'Only positive solution': EU chiefs hint at 2nd referendum after May's Brexit deal defeat

Led by European Council president Donald Tusk, EU officials sensed an opportunity in the chaotic aftermath of Theresa May's humiliating Commons defeat, to suggest reversing the results of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

"If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?" Tusk winked and nudged on his Twitter, to exclamations of "Remain!" from his audience.

The former Swedish foreign minister and current co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, Carl Bildt, even has a date for a potential second referendum lined up, though after May's deal was rejected by a historic margin, it is not clear what question could be asked.

One of the most vocal advocates of ever-closer European integration, Europarliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt, proposed a "new deeper comprehensive" relationship with the UK. He spoke to reporters outside a meeting in Strasbourg with Michel Barnier, the chief EU Brexit negotiator.


Barnier himself was less keen to dance on the embers of an agreement he himself helped create, telling the media that Brussels was still "determined to reach a deal," though he did notably retweet Tusk's message above.

EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, who will step down from arguably the most senior European post later this year, merely chose to ramp up the pressure on May's embattled government.

Meanwhile, if the UK prime minister thinks that her failure to squeeze past a Brexit deal that included an EU-sanctioned and controlled backstop and a £39 billion "divorce settlement" would engender more concessions from Brussels, she is likely to be disappointed.

Also on rt.com Macron rules out more EU concessions for UK after Brexit deal crashes in parliament

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