The Irish border issue has been around since Brexit talks first started 18 months ago, but it’s only recently emerged as a widely recognized crucial element of negotiations. Still, the E.U. is unlikely to change its stance on the matter.
“We know that the E.U. will not renegotiate but they may offer some clarifications or addendums or some kind of promise of a future comprehensive trade and political agreement — but they will not really reopen the deal that London signed only three weeks ago,” Adriano Bosoni, senior Europe analyst at geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor, told CNBC.
European Council President Donald Tusk has already made clear that the current Brexit agreement, which was approved by E.U. leaders in late November, is the only option on the table.
At the Brussels gathering, “the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will explain to the EU’s 27 leaders why the demands the U.K. Government is making would contradict the backstop, and so can’t be delivered,” Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe at consultancy Eurasia Group, said in a Thursday note.
“We can perhaps repeat what it can and cannot do in a different format, but the negotiation on the backstop is done,” a senior European negotiator reportedly told Rahman.
The situation, however, isn’t entirely bleak for May.