December 11, 2017 / 12:03 PM / in 10 months

May shook on gentlemen's agreement on Brexit deal, EU says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An interim Brexit deal struck by Theresa May and the European Commission is not legally binding but the British prime minister has committed her government to honouring a gentlemen’s agreement, an EU spokesman said on Monday.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the EC headquarters in Brussels, Belgium December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

“Formally speaking, the joint report is not legally binding,” the European Commission’s chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters when asked about suggestions from some of May’s ministers that the terms of Friday’s accord could change.

“But we see the joint report of Michel Barnier and David Davis as a deal between gentlemen and it is the clear understanding that it is fully backed and endorsed by the UK government,” he added, referring to each side’s negotiator.

Referring to EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker, he said: “President Juncker had a meeting with Prime Minister May last Friday morning to ascertain that this is precisely the case. They shook hands.”

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald

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