Published: Fri, September 21, 2018

'No-deal Brexit unless European Union softens position on border'

'No-deal Brexit unless European Union softens position on border'

On Thursday, the EU's most senior official Donald Tusk welcomed the Prime Minister's plan but said key economic proposals simply couldn't work.

The former soldier told the paper he was joining the hardline Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG), saying: "I've come to the conclusion that this "put up, shut up" attitude of the Prime Minister's - it's Chequers or nothing - you do as you're told or else, is a massive insult, not only to my colleagues but also to the voters".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the EU27 were agreed that, "in the matter of the single market, there can be no compromises".

France's President Emmanuel Macron issued a blunt rebuke of May's Brexit plan. "Those people are liars".

May could be forgiven for looking like thunder at her post-summit press conference.

"If we are going to achieve a successful conclusion then, just as the United Kingdom has evolved its position, the European Union will need to evolve its position too", she said.

She acknowledged that a bilateral meeting with Tusk was "frank".

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

"Our White Paper remains the only serious and credible proposition on the table for achieving that objective".

We all hoped she would at least get engagement, if not agreement, in Salzburg."The prime minister had sought to secure warm words from European Union leaders about her Brexit vision but was instead warned that she must find a solution for the Irish border issue within three weeks or risk a no-deal Brexit.Mr Tusk said: "Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work."The Chequers plan would keep Britain following European Union rules on goods but not services".


But London says this would undermine the U.K.by treating Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, PM May is promising Ireland that it will not see a "hard border" with Britain, though PM May is also warning that she too is not afraid to see a hard exit from the European Union, bringing the round-table discussions in Salzburg to a rough standstill as both sides throw around the concept of a hard-Brexit as more of a negotiating tactic than an outright threat. In practice, to allow for parliamentary ratification, that means a deal must be struck in the next couple of months. "Away from the discussion in the media, behind closed doors, I have the impression that both sides are aware that a solution can only be found if both sides make a move towards one another". "The Irish question needs something more than only good intentions".

And although Tusk told reporters there were some "positive elements" in the UK's blueprint, there is still no agreement on the Irish border.

"There's a lot of hard work to be done", she said.

"But would it happen, then we are prepared".

"What we can't compromise on is those fundamentals that we need: a transition period, we need to make sure the common travel area is protected, that the rights of citizens in Northern Ireland are protected and also that we have a legally operable backstop that assures us that a hard Border won't emerge on the island of Ireland".

Some leaders expressed deep frustration.

Macron, meanwhile, expressed contempt for pro-Brexit British politicians who told the public there would be "simple solutions" to leaving. "Every day that is left we must use for talks", Tusk said.

At a news conference at the conclusion of the summit, Mrs May struck a defiant tone, saying she had always expected negotiating "tactics" to be used during the course of the Brexit process. Both sides want to show a tough face.

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