Agreement on a Brexit deal was finally reached on November 25. European Union leaders said the package agreed with British Prime Minister Theresa May is the best deal possible.
“Those who think that, by rejecting the deal, they would get a better deal, will be disappointed,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters after the 27 other EU leaders formally endorsed a treaty setting terms for British withdrawal in March and an outline of a future EU-UK trade pact.
Asked by reporters whether there is any chance Brussels would reopen the pact if it is voted down in the British parliament, Juncker said: “This is the best deal possible”.
At home, May told a post-summit news conference that it was the “only possible deal”.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, the deal offers control of UK borders and budgets while maintaining close alignment with EU regulations that was good for business and the security of Britain and Europe.
“In any negotiation, you do not get everything you want. I think the British people understand that,” said May. She also stressed that the parliament’s vote could open the door to a “brighter future” or condemn the country to more division.
“I will make the case for this deal with all my heart,” she added, declining to answer whether she would resign if parliament rejects it.
According to Reuters, there was no discussion at the summit of what may happen if parliament rejects the deal in a vote likely to take place just before the next EU summit on December 13-14.
In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, noted that negotiations continued up to the last minute on the 585-page withdrawal agreement, which has drawn fierce criticism from euroskeptics as well as pro-EU politicians in Britain.
Spain, which had threatened to boycott the Brussels summit, decided to attend the summit in Brussels after a disagreement over Gibraltar was resolved on November 24.
According to DW, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the November 25 summit triggered “very ambivalent feelings” after 45 years of UK membership of the EU, but she said she respected the vote of the British people.