Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

‘You called me nebulous’: Heated exchange between May and Juncker goes viral

‘You called me nebulous’: Heated exchange between May and Juncker goes viral

European Union leaders expressed deep doubts Friday that British Prime Minister Theresa May can live up to her side of their Brexit agreement and they vowed to step up preparations for a potentially-catastrophic no-deal scenario.

British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss Brexit, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium December 11, 2018.

In a press conference at the end of a European Council summit, Mrs May said: 'I had a robust discussion with Jean-Claude Juncker - I think that's the sort of discussion you're able to have when you have developed a working relationship and you work well together.

The heated exchange was captured on video with no sound, but lip-readers reported that May said: "What did you call me?"

"What came out of that was his clarity that. when he used that particular phrase he'd been talking about a general level of debate".

'As formal conclusions, these commitments have legal status and therefore should be welcomed, ' she said.

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Giving a lunchtime press conference in Brussels, amid an atmosphere of recrimination, May said that her discussions with colleagues "have shown further clarification and discussion is in fact possible" and that she would be holding more talks "in the coming days".

He added: "We have treated Prime Minister May with a much greater empathy and respect than some British MPs".

The EU has rejected her calls for the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to be tweaked.

Speaking alongside him, European Council president Donald Tusk said he treats Mrs May with "the greatest respect" as he called out British MPs for not doing the same.

Urging Mrs May to explain how she wanted to approach dealing with MPs' concerns about the Northern Irish backstop, he said: "This debate is sometimes nebulous and we would like clarification". "We have the highest respect for the British Prime Minister, because she has to deliver a very hard job".

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said Mrs May's deal is "dead in the water" and that the PM has "utterly failed" to change her "botched deal".

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