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    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes Head of the European Commission, President Jean-Claude Juncker to Downing Street in London, Britain April 26, 2017.

    EU, UK Agree on Irish Border, Complementing Non-Changing Brexit Agreement

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    MOSCOW/LONDON(Sputnik) -European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Monday that the EU and the United Kingdom have agreed on an Irish border document which would complement the Brexit deal without any changes.

    Juncker also said during a joint press conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in Strasbourg that Brussels would endorse the new documents on Brexit if the deal is supported by the UK Parliament.

    "Today, the prime minister and I have agreed on the joint legally binding instrument relating to the withdrawal agreement, this instrument provides meaningful clarifications and legal guarantees on the nature of the backstop […] It complements the withdrawal agreement without reopening", Juncker said at a joint press conference with May.

    He also recommended that the European Council should endorse the agreed documents at its meeting on 21-22 March, provided it was subject to a positive vote in the UK parliament.

    Juncker also urged British lawmakers to back the Brexit withdrawal bill on Monday after agreeing on enhanced legal guarantees with May. "The choice is clear. It is this deal, or Brexit may not happen at all. Let's bring the UK's withdrawal to an orderly end", Juncker said.

    READ MORE: Academic on UK Political Deadlock: 'My Suggestion — There Won't be Any Brexit'

    In turn, May said in Strasbourg on Monday that in addition to a joint instrument and a joint statement announced earlier in Parliament, Britain would also make a Unilateral Declaration on the so-called backstop — an insurance policy aimed at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

    In January, UK lawmakers rejected the existing version of the UK-EU Brexit deal, citing fears that the United Kingdom might remain in a permanent customs union with the bloc should the backstop policy, aimed at preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland, remain in its current form. However, EU officials have repeatedly said that the Brexit deal is not subject to renegotiation.

    While London managed to negotiate a withdrawal deal with Brussels after months of intense talks, the agreement has faced a wave of criticism in the United Kingdom and spurred mounting calls for a second Brexit referendum, with Parliament so far refusing to endorse the deal due to the controversial provision on the Irish border backstop.

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    The UK House of Commons is set to hold a vote on the government's Brexit plan on Tuesday. If the government's deal does not pass then, a vote on a no-deal scenario will be reportedly held on Wednesday. If that option is rejected as well, a vote on a Brexit extension is expected on Thursday.

    The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on 29 March.

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    Irish border, changes, agreement, Brexit, Jean-Claude Juncker, Theresa May, EU, United Kingdom
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