Sunday, 21 October, 2018

The EU tells Theresa May her Chequers Brexit plan 'will not work'

SALZBURG AUSTRIA- JULY 27 Prime Minister of Great Britain Theresa May and her husband Philip May Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz and his girlfriend Susanne Thier during the premiere of 'Die Zauberfloete' during the Salzburg Festival Theresa May and her husband Philip May with Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz and his girlfriend at Salzburg Credit Gisela Schober Getty Images
Russell Knight | 21 September, 2018, 02:33

May rejected the sense that negotiations were falling apart when pressed by reporters at a news conference as the summit in Austria.

First, she could yield to the vociferous "chuck Chequers" lobby on the right of her party, and announce that the EU's intransigence means the deep and special partnership she has long advocated is not negotiable - and instead she will pursue a much looser, Canada-style arrangement.

"Limiting damage caused by Brexit is a shared interest, Unfortunately, a no-deal scenario is still quite possible", warned Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

Macron did not say who he was targeting with his "liars" remark, but Britain's former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit negotiator David Davis - who both campaigned strongly for Britain to leave the European Union - resigned in recent months during talks on the divorce deal.

They've spent two days in Salzburg, Austria trying to do just that, but with no clear solution in sight, the sides have tried to ramp up pressure on each other.

"It was a good and courageous step by the prime minister", Macron told reporters. We are hiring extra staff and officials, bringing in IT systems.

"We're ready for that eventuality, should it occur".

The talks, which have gone on for over a year, are bogged down in how to ensure that what will become Britain's only land border with the European Union, between Northern Ireland and Ireland, will not become home again to the checks and tensions of the past.

"The UK will leave on March 29 next year", she said over dinner, adding: "The onus is now on all of us to get this deal done".

In response, May said Britain was preparing to leave the bloc without an agreement on the terms of its departure unless there is a proposal it deems acceptable.

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'I believe that what we're proposing is the Brexit that delivers the freedoms that people voted for - making our own laws, controlling our own borders, controlling our money.

That means from the EU27's perspective, Brexit doesn't stand or fall over the acceptability of Chequers - it's the backstop for Northern Ireland that is crucially important; and where May's intransigent language appears to have riled her partners. She insisted that her proposals - the so-called Chequers plan - is the only option left.

Tariffs of 10 percent under World Trade Organization rules would add an average of 3,000 euros to the cost of British-built cars sold in the EU if fully passed on to buyers, and 1,700 euros to the cost of a European vehicle imported into Britain, the SMMT said.

Both sides aim to reach a deal that solves the issue.

Significant chunks of her party won't wear the deal either.

Asked if the chances of a no-deal Brexit had now increased, she replied: "We are continuing to work for a good deal, I think you will have heard both President Tusk and a number of the European Union leaders saying that they are looking and hoping and working to that good deal, but there's a lot of work to be done".

The EU leaders gathered in Austria for the informal summit were unmoved by a plea from May to allow the United Kingdom to stay tied to Brussels' rules on goods, but diverge on services.

'Our view is that the most viable and democratic way of resolving it is to allow the public to have their say on Brexit.

Earlier, the leaders of the Czech Republic and Malta had suggested a second referendum should be held to give the British people the chance to rethink Brexit.

May was also emphatic in Salzburg: "There has been a vote of the people".

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