Sunday, 21 October, 2018


European Union also preparing for 'No Deal Brexit'

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May
Bennie Garza | 21 September, 2018, 11:55

Donald Tusk, European Council president, said May's signal proposal to create a British-European free trade regime covering agriculture and goods - but not services - was not acceptable.

But he added negotiations were not yet at an "end game" and said Chequers was "broadly" a package that could get through Parliament.

Tusk stated in definitive terms that Theresa May's Chequers proposal would not work because all European leaders "shared the view [...that] the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work - not least because it risks undermining the single market".

While welcoming the "positive evolution" of Britain's position on security ties, Tusk said that on the Irish border and post-Brexit trading relations, "the UK's proposals will need to be reworked and further negotiated".

May tried to take the setback in her step, welcoming clarity on the deadline for a deal and promising to bring forward new plans on how to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

May's former Brexit minister David Davis has said up to 40 lawmakers from the Conservative Party will vote against her Brexit plans.

The backstop would keep Northern Ireland under EU economic oversight if London and Brussels can not agree a trade pact to keep UK-EU borders open after a transition period ends in 2020 - an idea that May and a small party in the province that props up her minority government oppose.

May promised to bring forward new proposals that would ensure trade could move freely across the Irish border, but would not require different customs regimes in Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, a key red line for the British Prime Minister.

"These people left the next day so that they didn't have to manage all this".

Tusk said a Brussels summit on October 18 would be a "moment of truth" to overcome remaining big problems and leaders pencilled in the weekend of November 17-18 to formalise a final agreement.

In Mrs May's absence on Thursday, the 27 other European Union leaders will discuss issues including the UK's future relationship with the European Union and how to resolve the problems around the Irish border.

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He delivered his verdict at the end of a summit in Salzburg where the Prime Minister appealed directly to other European Union leaders for further compromise in the search for a deal over the terms of Britain's exit.

"We want avoid a 'No Deal Brexit, ' but we are preparing for that".

The EU version of the so-called "backstop" would see Northern Ireland alone continue to follow many EU trade rules and regulations - but London says this would undermine the integrity of the UK.

After her briefing with Tusk, May told reporters there was still "willingness to do a deal" on both sides of the negotiation.

Over dinner in Salzburg on Wednesday evening, May told the other leaders that Britain would not delay Brexit or hold a second referendum.

She is less than a fortnight from the Conservative party conference, where she will face manoeuvres from pro-Brexiters to force her into a "harder" Brexit policy or even depose her.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday mocked the British politicians he says falsely claimed Brexit would be easy and then resigned to avoid having to deliver on their promises.

If Britain is to leave with a deal in six months, May and the Europeans must find solutions in coming weeks so parliaments have enough time to ratify the agreement.

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