January 4, 2019 / 11:48 AM / 9 months ago

Juncker had 'friendly' Brexit call with May, to talk again next week

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during the UK-Poland Inter-Governmental Consultations in central London, December 20, 2018. Adrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had a “friendly” telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May on her Brexit plans, a spokeswoman for the EU executive said on Friday.

“They agreed to stay in touch next week,” the spokeswoman added, without elaborating.

On Thursday, the Commission said there were no plans for further meetings with British Brexit negotiators after a summit on Dec. 14. At that meeting, fellow EU leaders told May that they would not renegotiate a withdrawal treaty for which she has failed to secure parliamentary approval in London.

Earlier on Friday, the Commission spokeswoman said she expected the Juncker-May call to form part of the British leader’s recent “outreach” to brief European leaders “on the latest state of play and the situation in the UK”.

“(Juncker) is of course always open to listen to the prime minister so that’s what he will do for sure,” the spokeswoman added.

Even if no withdrawal deal with the EU is sealed, Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29. It is unclear what the government may do if parliament fails to ratify the treaty.

Britain will begin rehearsals for the possible chaos of a “no-deal” Brexit on Monday by testing how the road network copes with a tailback of around 150 lorries caused by disruption at its most important trading gateway, the Channel port of Dover, to continental Europe.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald and Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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