December 14, 2018 / 9:00 AM / 10 months ago

EU leaders arrive for second day of summit dominated by Brexit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders arrive in Brussels for a second day of day of talks on Brexit, the euro zone, migration and Russia, among others.

General view of the hall during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/Pool

Below are some of their comments made on arrival.

AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR SEBASTIAN KURZ

“I think it was good that we told Theresa May once again that we would not reopen the withdrawal agreement ... but besides the withdrawal agreement there is a huge understanding of both sides and a wish to find a way to deal with Brexit.”

“The backstop is an idea for a short period of time and not for the next decades and I think it was necessary to say this clearly.”

BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER CHARLES MICHEL

“The signals we heard yesterday were not very reassuring about the capabilities of the UK to honor the arrangement that was concluded so we are going to be sure to prepare for all the scenarios including a no deal.”

“It is our clear political wish to start talks about future relations very quickly but there is a fundamental question: Is a deal possible in the UK, yes or no?

“A no deal is also a possibility, so we have to work hard to be ready for that.

“I’m not optimistic as the indications yesterday did not point to approval in the British parliament.”

EUROGROUP PRESIDENT MARIO CENTENO

“Today I hope to get a mandate from the leaders to continue working on budgetary instruments to promote convergence and competitiveness in the euro area.”

CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER ANDREJ PLENKOVIC

“The text we agreed upon yesterday is a solid signal first and foremost to the prime minister, but also to the MPs in the house.”

“For now, the responsibilities are on the UK side ... The ball is in the UK court literally.”

“What is important is that we have a negotiated Brexit - although I many times repeated it is a very bad item on the agenda and the worst one for the United Kingdom. So if it was up to me I would never, ever have organized such an unnecessary referendum, which creates hassle for all of us and eventually most of the costs and the problems will be on the UK side.”

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT KLAUS IOHANNIS

“We are very clear. It is our very deep desire to have a very good, a very special future relationship, which will be negotiated. There is no need or no wish for a backstop. ... We need a vote from the British parliament and we very much wish that this will be a positive vote.”

“We expect a positive vote from the British parliament (in January), not a summit.”

“You should see things as they really are. The pressure is felt in Britain, not among us.... We said together clearly yesterday, we are saying it today, we repeat that no one wants a delay to talks on the future relationship, we want particularly good future relations and that is what we are working on.”

Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel and Phil Blenkinsop

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