After months of hesitation, stop-and-start negotiations and resignations, Britain and the European Union on Sunday finally sealed an agreement governing the U.K.’s departure from the bloc next year.
So much for the easy part.
British Prime Minister Theresa May must now sell the deal to her divided Parliament — a huge task considering the intense opposition from pro-Brexit and pro-EU lawmakers alike — to ensure Britain can leave with a minimum of upheaval on March 29.
It’s a hard sell. The agreement leaves Britain outside the EU with no say but still subject to its rules and the obligations of membership at least until the end of 2020, possibly longer. Britons voted to leave in June 2016, largely over concerns about immigration and losing sovereignty to Brussels.
EU leaders were quick to warn that no better offer is available.
“I am totally convinced this is the only deal possible,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. “Those who think that by rejecting the deal that they would have a better deal will be disappointed the first seconds after the rejection.”
For once, May was in complete agreement.
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