Foreign Minister against Brexit speculation following Irish backstop agreement

The Foreign Affairs minister said that with new developments in the British Parliament anything may happen and that speculation should be avoided at this stage

Minister for Foreign Affairs Carmelo Abela
Minister for Foreign Affairs Carmelo Abela

Minister for Foreign Affairs Carmelo Abela has told MaltaToday that despite what happens in the House of Commons, "speculation on Brexit will not help" even though parameters on the issue have been widened since the Commons reached an agreement on the Irish backstop yesterday.

Abela was referring to a new vote taken in the British Parliament yesterday which saw the majority of MPs voting for an amendment on the Irish backdrop, an agreement on the controversial issue at last.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to get to another Brexit vote by 13 February after returning to the Commons with a revised deal with Brussels.

"Many European leaders are mulling over the possibility of reopening negotiations. Others have remained steadfast against this possibility," Abela said, adding that reopening negotiations was still a remote possibility.

Abela said that at this point, the situation is very fluid and that anything may happen but this should not be an opportunity for speculation. "This does not mean that we shouldn't be prepared. This is why the government pushed for special measures for British citizens in Malta and vice-versa."

The foreign affairs minister will be participating at an informal meeting between all EU foreign affairs ministers later this afternoon, taking place at Romania, the country that holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The meeting will be presided by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini.

The agenda includes four working sessions, during which the ministers will discuss informally current topics from the international agenda, such as the Eastern Partnership, Venezuela, Syria and the EU-China relationship. Brexit will not be discussed.

Abela said that the main question surrounding Brexit right now is whether there will be more negotiations between Britain and Brussels or not, following the Commons passing an amendment to the Irish backstop. "The parameters of Brexit negotiations have once again been widened," he said.