Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 | Last Update : 08:27 AM IST
The EU’s decision Friday to move to the next stage of negotiations with Britain was a much-needed success for May
London: After a turbulent few months when some predicted she could be gone by Christmas, British Prime Minister Theresa May finally has some good news with a deal on Brexit — but any reprieve will likely be short-lived.
The EU’s decision Friday to move to the next stage of negotiations with Britain was a much-needed success for May, whose leadership has been dogged by doubts since a disastrous snap election in June.
The approval followed an 11th-hour deal struck last week by the prime minister and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on the terms of the divorce, including Britain’s financial settlement.
It drew rare support from across all sections of Ms May’s frequently divided Conservative party, and was agreed despite concerns in the Northern Irish party which props up her minority government.
But some key issues were left unresolved, while Britain is yet to set out what it wants from the future relationship with the European Union. Cabinet ministers are due to discuss the subject formally next week.
A Parliamentary defeat on the eve of the EU summit was a timely reminder of the opposition May faces to her Brexit strategy at home, as the negotiations enter what is likely to be the most challenging phase.
“The government has to decide what to ask for in phase two, which is going to be very difficult in itself,” said Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform.
“The British government is going to find that whatever it asks for, the EU is going to be tough,” he said, adding: “I think there’s going to be a massive crisis.”
Ms May said the divorce agreement defied the doubters, and described the EU summit as “an important step on the road to delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit”.