Sunday, 18 August, 2019

British PM May hits back at European Union after Brexit rejection

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     EU ARE JOKING Sadiq Khan said Britain is facing a'no deal or a'bad deal as things stand GETTY EU ARE JOKING Sadiq Khan said Britain is facing a'no deal or a'bad deal as things stand
Patty Aguilar | 22 September, 2018, 06:02

European Council President Donald Tusk said EU leaders had studied the Chequers plan "in all seriousness" and had issued their warning it would not work in response to the "surprisingly tough and in fact uncompromising" stance taken by Mrs May.

He said of the so-called Chequers proposals that "the suggested framework for cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market".

A day after her humiliating rebuff from European Union leaders in Salzburg, the Prime Minister came back fighting, warning Brussels there could be no further progress in Brexit talks unless it put forward fresh ideas on Northern Ireland and trade.

"Concerns have been raised and I want to know what those concerns are", she said.

The "backstop" Brussels is proposing would keep Northern Ireland under EU economic oversight if London and the EU can not agree on a trade deal to keep borders between the United Kingdom and European bloc open after the transition period that ends in 2020.

There is still no agreement on some issues, including how to avoid new checks on the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border.

Tusk said in Salzburg that an European Union summit on October 18-19 would be the moment of truth, when an agreement on divorce terms and the outlines of future trade would be sealed or would fail.

They listened politely for a few minutes but said afterwards that a stalemate on the Irish border was unbroken - though some European Union diplomats detected a cracking of ice around the spectacular summit dinner table, laid in the Salzburg theatre used to film a dramatic escape finale in the film "The Sound of Music".

May had gone to Salzburg and pitched Chequers in person to the EU27, hoping for encouraging words for her plan, which seeks to smooth the path for post-Brexit trade with the continent, and keep borders as open as possible, by closely tying British regulations and tariffs to Europe's.

Sir Mike Penning, a former defence minster who voted Leave before backing Mrs May for the party leadership in the aftermath of the referendum, told the Telegraph she had treated Tory MPs "like children who belong on the naughty step". Failure to make a deal could leave the United Kingdom and the bloc reeling politically and economically, and could disrupt trade and travel.

The plan calls for Britain to remain in the EU's single market for goods, but not services.

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May also tried to paint the hardline rhetoric on her Brexit deal as a negotiating tactic on the EU's part.

Speaking to reporters after the summit ended, she said: "Our white paper remains the only serious and credible proposal on the table for achieving that objective".

Officials on both sides of the Channel hope Salzburg will give new impetus to divorce negotiations ahead of a crunch summit in Brussels on October 18.

His comments quickly sparked a conversation among some of Brexit's most outspoken critics, including MP Tulip Siddiq, a Labour supporter of the anti-Brexit "Best for Britain" group.

That would lead to Britain crashing out of the European Union on Brexit day, a development that in theory could see flights parked and trade between the two sides grind to a halt.

Among these were the topics of a hard border, internal security and migration.

"It was a good and courageous step by the prime minister", Macron told reporters.

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker conceded Friday that the Brexit negotiations were prickly - likening them to the courtship of two hedgehogs - but insisted the two sides were "moving closer".

But EU leaders sounded unconvinced as they filed into the summit on Thursday morning.

Mrs May said she is working towards an October date but privately the embattled prime minister told Mr Varadkar she did not think she could have proposals on the backstop ready for October.

She repeated that she would bring forward alternative proposals to the backstop, which would come into effect until a new trade deal is struck.

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