EU warns Britain against Brexit deal ‘backtracking’

The European Union has warned Britain against “backtracking” on the promises delivered over the UK’s divorce from the bloc.

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday that “all our points of agreement are now closed,” under the deal made by British Prime Minister Theresa May last week.

“We will be vigilant. We will not accept any backtracking from the UK,” Barnier added.

The chief EU negotiator said there was “no possibility” that London and Brussels could conclude a free trade agreement by the time Britain leaves in March 2019.

The warning came after Britain’s Brexit Minister David Davis said that the crucial deal between the EU and the UK on separation arrangements was a “statement of intent,” rather than “legally enforceable.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, censured Davis for his comments and said his description of the agreement was “unacceptable,” adding that the deal was a “legally enforceable text.”

Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk also expressed alarm that completing a Brexit treaty and agreeing on future relations with Britain would be a “furious race against time.”

Tusk noted that the EU states would have to stick together to avoid economic disruption.

The EU-UK agreement on December 8 paved the way for the beginning of the second phase of negotiations of that deal with financial and security matters.

An EU summit starting Thursday must approve the Brexit agreement for the negotiations to move on to the next phase, and the parliament also has to back the overall agreement for Britain to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

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