Around 900 troops are based in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as a bulwark against Russian aggression.
Now Downing Street hopes to convince these EU states to ‘break cover’ and urge Brussels to reopen the divorce agreement terms.
Theresa May is to appeal to the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, where 900 British troops are stationed as a bulwark against Russia, in a bid to break the Brexit ‘backstop’ deadlock
Last week Poland came close to demanding that meaningful talks recommence – to the fury of EU purists in France and Germany. Now behind-the-scenes appeals to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are planned for the coming days.
But the strategy risks a furious backlash if it is interpreted as Britain threatening to pull troops out, leaving Europe’s eastern border to the mercy of a Kremlin attack.
The push comes as hopes the Netherlands will be a key ally in the UK’s attempt to dilute the controversial ‘backstop’ have faded – with Mrs May’s team believing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is positioning to be the next President of the EU Council and so less inclined to help a departing member state.
However EU unity was stretched on Friday when Spain’s Foreign Minister hinted at new talks and yesterday the EU’s central bank issued a stark warning that a No Deal would hurt the Eurozone.
EU Brexit European Commission’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier (right) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have said that Britain’s exit deal is done and cannot be reopened for discussion. Theresa May hopes to get the Baltic states onside to convince the EU to change its mind
No 10 has accepted it is the UK’s responsibility to come up with detailed proposals on overcoming the backstop impasse – and will only ‘dip a toe’ into direct contact with Brussels this week.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister will spend the next 11 days ‘shoring up’ the number of Labour rebels who voted with Mrs May or abstained against Brexit-blocking measures ahead of a fresh showdown on Valentine’s Day.
MPs hellbent on delaying or stopping Brexit will resurrect their efforts to block a No Deal and seize control of the Commons agenda. But Mrs May is delighted at the collapse of the push for a second referendum.
Last night she said: ‘This week the leaders of the campaign had the chance to put their plan before the Commons. But they recognised there is no majority in this Parliament to hold another vote. Indeed, I believe there never will be.’