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EU prepares for no-deal Brexit as Theresa May reaches out to Opposition

EU countries have put the onus on the British government and its lawmakers

By AP in London
  • Published 17.01.19, 2:25 PM
  • Updated 18.01.19, 9:06 AM
  • a min read
General view of the French National Assembly during the questions to the government in Paris on January 16. France's parliament has adopted a law allowing for emergency measures to deal with Britain's March 29 exit from the EU. AP

British Prime Minister Theresa May is reaching out to Opposition parties and other lawmakers on Thursday in a battle to keep Brexit on track after surviving a no-confidence vote.

European Union countries are also debating on how to move forward now that the UK Parliament has rejected May's Brexit deal with the bloc and with the March 29 exit date looming.

Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the deal on Tuesday night, in a crushing defeat for May. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately called for a no-confidence vote, but May's government survived it on Wednesday night.

May invited Opposition leaders for talks about how best to avoid leaving the EU without an agreement. But Corbyn has so far declined to meet May unless she takes the "no-deal" possibility off the table.

EU countries have generally reacted to the unfolding political crisis by putting the onus on the British government and its lawmakers.

Some British lawmakers want May to call for an extension of negotiations with the EU and postpone the March 29 deadline to leave the bloc, while others are lobbying for a second Brexit referendum. The Prime Minister has so far rejected those options.

France's Prime Minister is holding a special government meeting on Thursday on how his country will cope with a possible "no-deal" Brexit.

The French parliament adopted a law on Wednesday allowing emergency measures after March 30 in the event Britain leaves without a deal.

Such measures could aim to reduce problems in cross-border trade and transport, notably through the Eurotunnel beneath the English Channel, and allow British workers and retirees based in France temporary permission to stay until a longer-term deal is worked out.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was expected in Lisbon where he was due to meet with local officials and give a news conference Thursday. Barnier said on Wednesday in Strasbourg he was more concerned than ever about the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without an agreement.