Jean-Claude Juncker said he was “crystal clear” there will be no renegotiation of the Brexit deal, despite claims from several candidates in the U.K. Conservative leadership race that they will reopen talks with Brussels.
The European Commission president will meet Theresa May, who will be replaced as prime minister when a new Tory leader is elected this summer, ahead of an EU summit in Brussels on Tuesday evening.
Arriving at the summit, where leaders, including May, will discuss the European election results and begin the process of choosing the next European Council and Commission presidents, Juncker said his view on Brexit and the Withdrawal Agreement was unchanged: “There will be no renegotiation.”
Meanwhile Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel told the BBC that a renegotiation under a new British prime minister was “not how it’s going to work.”
Several contenders to succeed May have indicated they will seek to renegotiate. Brexiteer figurehead Boris Johnson has written in the Telegraph about striking “a good bargain” with Brussels, while keeping the option of no-deal on the table, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Tuesday that he wanted to form a new negotiating team including Brexiteer MPs, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party to renegotiate the Irish backstop plan.
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, who is also planning to run for the leadership, has said he will “fight for a fairer deal in Brussels with negotiations to change the backstop arrangements.”
Arriving in Brussels, May herself said that Brexit was now “a matter for my successor” but warned that the next prime minister would have to “find a way of addressing the very strongly held views on both sides of this issue, and to do that and get a majority in parliament.” The task, she said would require “compromise,” reiterating her view that the government should strive for a deal with the EU.
Asked whether she would play a role in selecting the new European Council and Commission presidents, May said the U.K would “continue to play a constructive role during the time of this extension of Article 50.”