Even before today’s announcement that the Brexit vote would be pulled, a number of media leaks indicated the EU’s plan in case of a parliamentary defeat. According to Reuters, the EU had been planning to concede a number of cosmetic changes. However, those changes would not be made to the withdrawal agreement, but only to the non-binding political declaration.
As one EU diplomat said: 'we could look at doing something cosmetic, relatively quickly. First, we would have to hear from May, see what they want'. Another EU diplomat, however, warned that 'if she falls short of a hundred votes, it’s probably not doable.' It now makes sense for the EU to go ahead with this plan, now that Theresa May has essentially suffered a virtual defeat in Parliament.