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

Pauline Gross
September 21, 2018

Donald Tusk, European Council President, on Thursday said May's idea that the United Kingdom could stay in the single market for goods after Brexit "will not work", and had been rejected by leaders of all 27 EU member states.

In a statement at Downing Street, Mrs May said European Council president Donald Tusk had rejected her plan without properly explaining why it was unacceptable or offering an alternative.

Amid reports that she had taken a tough line on the negotiations, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday that May had been "interesting" and "polite".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said "substantial progress" was still needed and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his country is better prepared for a no-deal Brexit than Britain.

Her former Brexit Minister David Davis has warned that there is, what he called, a rock solid core of 40 MPs who would vote against any plan reached under Mrs May's Chequers proposals.

"Europe isn't an a la carte menu", said French President Emmanuel Macron.

"What we want to avoid is any new barriers to the movement of goods, any new barriers to trade, any new barriers to the movement of people", Varadkar said.

Tusk was speaking at the end of an European Union summit in Salzburg, where the leaders of the 27 remaining states in the bloc were discussing Brexit.

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Britain's Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said some European Union leaders had shown unstatesmanlike behavior in Salzburg and that Britain would not be moved by such moves.

For Ireland, it's important not to undermine the hard-won peace after decades of sectarian tensions in neighboring Northern Ireland.

The prime minister also opted to flat out reject the EU's updated proposals on how to deal with the thorny issue of the Irish border, which also didn't go down well with leaders around the table. "It stinks of incompetence, the whole thing, when the moment of reality is only four weeks away", Miller told the BBC.

And EU leaders want to make an example of the UK's pain to any other countries even thinking of leaving: Breaking up is hard to do. He captioned it: "A piece of cake, perhaps?"

Matching repeated similar messages from May's side in recent weeks, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the European Union had "made more preparations for a no deal". We all agreed on this today'. Brexit supporters say such fears are exaggerated and Britain would thrive in the long term.

Macron acknowledged that Brexit was the choice of the British people but added that it was "pushed by those who predicted easy solutions".

But having flatly rejected the EU's thinking, Mrs May is then said to have delivered a hard message in a meeting with Irish PM Leo Varadkar yesterday morning.

An emergency summit on Brexit proposed for November 17-18 will only happen as a "punchline to effective negotiations", Tusk said.

Other reports by GizPress

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