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Tony Connelly @tconnellyRTE
, 12 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Quick thread on Brexit latest:

1/ Olly Robbins is in town talking to the Task Force. Word is that May wants some kind of declaration clarifying that the backstop won't be needed, that it's temporary etc
2/ So, three key questions: what will the content of the declaration be; what will its legal weight be; and will it be ready in time for the #EUCO on Thursday?
3/ So far sources are reticent about whether a General Affairs Council, which is meeting tomorrow in Brussels anyway, will have a last minute Article 50 formation - but one source says it can be arranged at the last minute (GACs do the work of preparing summits).
4/ One source says there's no point in negotiating something for Theresa May if she can't get it through the House of Commons. At the same time, the WA cannot be reopened.
5/ So there could be a stand-alone declaration, but one that spells out what is ALREADY in the Political Declaration.
6/ Par 19 of the PD states: "The Parties recall their determination to replace the backstop solution on Northern Ireland by a subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing"
7/ Acc to one source: "It’s already crystal clear that, also from the EU side, there’s no intention whatsoever to end up in the backstop. We really want to avoid that at all costs. If that needs to be spelled out another time, fine, it’s already there.”
8/ In 2016 the Netherlands sought and was given a declaration spelling out that the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement did not guarantee EU membership for Ukraine, and that the Netherlands was not obliged to provide Ukraine with military assistance.
9/ We will, sad to say, be re-entering tunnel-like conditions in the coming days to try to sort all this out. Ireland will be required to give its approval to any declaration - unlikely Dublin will agree to the HoC having a veto on the backstop down the line.
Further to above thread... Hearing now that talk of tunnel-like conditions is premature.
Also, source suggests that the EU will only contemplate something if it’s clear Theresa May can deliver the House of Commons. It is also clear that there is no question of reopening the Withdrawal Agreement.
Parallel with NL declaration re EU-Ukraine association Agreement is valid only insofar as PM Mark Rutte at the time was able to deliver the agreement through the Dutch Parliament.
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