EU warns Britain 'must' rework Brexit

20 Septembre, 2018, 14:39 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • The border between Londonderry and Donegal at Bridgend

At dinner at the Felsenreitschule theatre - known to film fans for a scene in the musical "The Sound of Music" - May was due to make another pitch for support for her Chequers plan.

Pro-Brexit members of May's Conservative Party also oppose her deal, saying it would keep Britain tethered to the bloc, with no say over its rules and unable to strike new trade deals around the world.

[EU Brexit negotiator] Michel Barnier is doing well, he has our full support.

"I believe that I have put forward serious and workable proposals", May told the summit, according to a senior British government source.

Mrs May is expected to use the Salzburg summit to hold formal face-to-face talks with Belgian premier Charles Michel today and Ireland's Leo Varadkar and Mr Tusk tomorrow. "I'm confident that, with goodwill and determination, we can agree a deal that right for both parties".

"At this stage, it's a standstill".

The leaders of Lithuania and Slovakia said after the dinner that "no progress" had been made.

"Despite the talk of "improvements" the backstop being insisted upon by the European Union would mean a different regime for Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the U.K", he said. "They are trying to be nice to her and there will be nice words tomorrow". There was no reaction.

Tusk warned that the clock is ticking. "And that's starting to have a psychological effect".

She made clear that her three priorities were to protecting Northern Ireland, safeguarding trading links with the European Union and maintaining a close security relationship with the European Union to deal with common threats.

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The Chequers blueprint - a "common rulebook" for trade in goods and "business-friendly facilitated customs arrangement" - is the only way to resolve the thorny issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, she said.

May's latest plan - the so-called Chequers proposals - envisions the whole United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, remaining in the European single market for goods only, thereby eliminating the need for a hard border.

In a further sign of how hard it might be for her to persuade the UK Parliament to back the plans, former minister Mike Penning, who worked under Mrs May at the Home Office and backed her for Tory leader, told the Daily Telegraph they were "as dead as a dodo" and that he could not back them.

In extracts of a speech he plans to deliver in Munich tomorrow, Mr Davis said the PM's plan crossed all of her own negotiating red lines.

May is keen to show hardline Brexiters, who will be out in force at the party conference and who have called on her to "chuck Chequers", that her plan is the only one that can be negotiated with the EU.

October was the original deadline for a withdrawal deal to be struck in order to allow time for the ratification process, although Tusk has now confirmed that a special summit will be convened on Brexit in November. "We will see whether an agreement is in reach at that moment based on a subjective evaluation which I will be submitting in reporting to the European leaders on the state of negotiations".

May will attend a morning session on Thursday to discuss security, where she will raise the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

She said Britain's 27 European Union partners would discuss May's concerns without her present on Thursday, and Merkel expressed hopes for "an exit that takes place in a good atmosphere, in great respect for each other and that - in certain areas - very, very close co-operation is possible".

"But to report something positive, inside the room, away from the hard media statements outside, I think both sides are aware that they will only reach a solution if they move towards each other".

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