EU writes to UK providing assurances over Ireland Brexit backstop

LONDON (Reuters) – European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have written a letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May setting out assurances about the so-called Northern Ireland backstop.

A copy of a joint letter from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk sent to British Prime Minister Theresa May is displayed with an EU flag in this picture illustration, January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Illustration

Below is a copy to the letter published on Monday:

Dear Prime Minister,

Thank you for your letter of 14 January 2019.

As you are well aware, we regret but respect the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. We also consider that Brexit is a source of uncertainty and disruption. In these challenging times, we therefore share with you the determination to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for citizens and companies in a situation where a Member State leaves the European Union after more than four decades of closest economic and political integration. That is why the Withdrawal Agreement that you and the Leaders of the 27 EU Member States agreed after long negotiations is so important. It represents a fair compromise and aims to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, thereby limiting the negative consequences of Brexit. That is also why we wish to establish as close as possible a relationship with the United Kingdom in the future, building on the Political Declaration, which the Leaders of the 27 EU Member States agreed with you. It is also why we want negotiations to this effect to start as soon as possible after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

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