Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Britain, EU clash over who should blink on Brexit

REX  Shutterstock Mayor of London Sadiq Khan The Transatlantic Slave Trade and it's Abolition Remembrance ceremony City Hall London UK- 22 Aug 2018 Sadiq Khan has called for a new Brexit referendum
Kenny Thornton | 22 September, 2018, 20:33

"If there is no agreement on a deal that is acceptable to the United Kingdom, then we're preparing for no deal", she said at the news conference after the summit in Austria.

However Mrs May has rejected the plan as unacceptable arguing that it would effectively create a border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

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

Maintaining a united front that refuses to let May bypass the talks run by European Union negotiator Michel Barnier, the 27 leaders did not respond to her.

During a speech in Salzburg, where May met with European Union leaders over dinner last night, he said that no Brexit agreement can be reached without a solution to the Irish border issues, and "while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, its suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market".

"The Brexit teaches us something - and I completely respect British sovereignty when I say that - it showed that those who say that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be alright, and that it's going to bring in a lot of money are liars", he said.

- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his country is better prepared for a no-deal Brexit than Britain and an agreement is "not easy" because of Mrs May's red lines.

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

The bloc also raised the stakes by putting on ice a special summit planned for November to seal a deal, saying it would only happen if there is progress next month. "And at various stages of these negotiations, tactics would be used as part of those negotiations".

This 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 Mrs May and a small party in the province that props up her minority government oppose.

However, May repeated her warning that Britain would never agree to any "legal separation of the United Kingdom into two customs territories".

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

The Prime Minister has said that she intends to "take back control" over the country's borders and laws which aligns with a hard Brexit.

"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".

Two days later, she has been sent away from Austria with a similarly blunt response: change the Chequers plan or it's no-deal.

But "unfortunately we can not at this stage exclude a no-deal - it depends on both sides of negotiations".

Theresa May, however, speaking outside the informal summit, said a Conservative government would not permit a second referendum on Brexit.

He said May had irked European Union leaders with an uncompromising article Wednesday for German newspaper Die Welt, followed up by a similar summit dinner speech and an unproductive sideline meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

Tusk and Macron had torn into May's so-called Chequers plan, which they believe will fragment the bloc's prized single market and "not work".

May told reporters that her offer to solve the border riddle - the biggest obstacle to a deal - was "the only credible and negotiable plan on the table that delivers no hard border in Northern Ireland and also delivers on the vote of the British people" to leave the EU.

"With just weeks to go until a deal must be struck, the Prime Minister can not keep ignoring this reality".

Most EU leaders "would welcome a situation where there is the possibility of the British people putting things into perspective, seeing what has been negotiated, seeing the options, and then deciding once and for all", he added.

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