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Video: Theresa May angrily confronts Jean-Claude Juncker over Brexit



LONDON — An angry-looking Theresa May confronted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday after EU leaders rejected her latest Brexit proposals and he publicly chastised her approach to negotiations.

Arriving at a meeting of European leaders in Brussels this morning, May was filmed approaching Juncker and having what looked like a frosty exchange with the EU chief, in which she appeared to say: “You called me nebulous.” Juncker responded by putting his hand on her arm, as if to calm her down.

Here’s the clip.

On Thursday evening, Juncker accused the UK prime minister of being “nebulous and imprecise” in Brexit talks after the EU refused to make changes to the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement.

May wanted the EU to make new reassurances that the “backstop” for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland will be temporary. If Britain leaves the EU, it might require a formal border crossing to be reinstalled between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Neither party wants that to happen, so the “backstop” agreement calls for the border to remain frictionless until a long-term permanent solution is agreed to. May, however, is worried that the EU will allow the backstop to become permanent if Britain doesn’t get a final say. That could leave Northern Ireland as a de facto piece of the EU for trade purposes, a position which is unacceptable to both May and the Northern Irish Unionists who support her government.

EU leaders have insisted that the deal could not be renegotiated.

The prime minister looked sombre when she arrived at the European Council on Friday morning, after failing to win changes to the deal which she had promised to hostile Brexiteers in Westminster.

Arlene Foster — leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up the Conservative government — said that while the EU’s reaction was “unsurprising” it was up to May whether she would “stand up to them or whether she will roll over as has happened previously.”

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