EU's Juncker, May to meet Wednesday amid fears of Brexit extension

In this Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 photo European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, prepares to shake hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, before their meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

British Prime Minister Theresa May travels to Brussels on Wednesday to meet European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. "We can not accept a time limit to the backstop or unilateral exit clause", said Margaritis Schinas, a spokesperson for the Commission, during a regular news briefing.

"Further talks will be held this week to see whether a way through can be found that would gain the broadest possible support in the UK Parliament and respect the guidelines agreed by the European Council. That is where we are". It does want to discuss other ways to find a compromise, but, so far, London has been insistent on changing the legal text.

On Monday (18 February), Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay met European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier, and on Tuesday, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will make a speech setting out what changes would be required to eliminate the legal risk that Britain could be trapped in a Northern Irish backstop indefinitely.

The plan would replace the backstop with a free trade agreement and technological methods for keeping the Irish border open after Brexit. "We need more. preparations", Barroso, who now serves as a non-executive chairman at Goldman Sachs, told Sky News when asked when if he thought Brexit would happen as currently scheduled on March 29.

But a defeat in a symbolic vote in parliament on Thursday has weakened her pledge and increase the risk of a "no-deal" Brexit in 40 days.

Clark, a leading pro-EU voice in May's Cabinet, said the Brexit-related uncertainty facing businesses was "unacceptable" and "needs to be brought to a conclusion".

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Brexiteers protest Theresa May's latest Brexit deal.

With less than six weeks to go until March 29, chances are growing that Britain will seek to postpone its departure from the EU.

On the prospect of the United Kingdom electing MEPs to the new Parliament, he told German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung that such a scenario was "difficult to imagine", saying it would be a "belated joke of history" but he did not rule it out.

On Brexit issue, former EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso gave his wisdom that Britain is likely to delay Brexit and not leave the EU in March.

However, Juncker told German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung in an interview published Tuesday that such a scenario was "difficult to imagine", saying it would be a "belated joke of history".

May's spokesperson said Tuesday the meeting is an important stage in Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

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