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2019.10.17 16:35

EU leaders will approve Brexit deal, but UK parliament may not – Lithuanian president

BNS 2019.10.17 16:35

EU leaders will most probably approve the new Brexit deal, but doubts remain whether the UK parliament will back it, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said on Thursday afternoon in Brussels.

“I don’t see any major technical problems regarding the approval by the European Council,” Nausėda told journalists ahead of the EU summit, the first he is attending as Lithuanian president. “I see a bigger threat when this document reaches the UK parliament, as it's difficult to predict [what will happen] there.”

News of a Brexit deal reached by the British government and the EU Commission broke soon after Nausėda's plane landed in Brussels.

The new deal would see Northern Ireland trade under EU regulation, but remain within the UK custom area.

The deal might face obstacles in the British parliament as not only the opposition Labour, but also Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is in a coalition with the Conservative Party, object to it.

“It's a big step forward but it’s not the end. None of us can say today that the UK parliament's decision will be. I would like it to be a positive one, so that this whole saga ends,” Nausėda said.

The Lithuanian president also acknowledged that another emergency summit would have to be called to extend the Brexit deadline if the British parliament rejected the new deal.

Lithuania “would back the extension of the deadline, if we saw that we could agree on something during that extension”, according to Nausėda.

A no-deal Brexit would be “the worst alternative” with big “economic, financial and human losses”, the Lithuanian president said.

During the two-day summit, EU leaders will also discuss relations with Turkey, Albania and North Macedonia's EU membership aspirations, the 2021-2027 budget and climate change.