Brexit was sold by 'liars': European Union leaders reject May's plan

Pauline Gross
September 22, 2018

"Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work, not least because it is undermining the single market", he said at the conclusion of the two-day meeting.

The extraordinary attack, at the close of the EU Salzburg summit, is likely aimed at Vote Leave leaders like former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and environment secretary Michael Gove, and possibly former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

The Prime Minister's objection to Brussels' earlier plan, to effectively keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and which would have placed the border with the Republic down the Irish Sea, was anathema to the UK Government, not to mention the Democratic Unionists, who prop it up at Westminster. But EU leaders clearly were not feeling nostalgic. "I've been looking for a pro-British lobby in the council for six months now, and I can't find one". "I don't like that approach at all". Key elements of a hard Brexit:It essentially means taking the United Kingdom completely out of the EU - including both the single market and the customs union, so it is free from its regulations and tariffs.

But even countries that are basically sympathetic to Britain, like the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, have been firm supporters of the guidelines given to EU's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Mrs May remains wedded to the Chequers blueprint, noting it is the only proposal on the table as the deadline approaches, although she indicated the United Kingdom will unveil new measures on the future status of the Northern Irish border in a bid to break the deadlock.

But May said that after she presented her so-called Chequers plan on post-Brexit trade ties this summer, Brussels must also give ground.

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

"If Brexit tells us one shows us that those who say: one can do easily without Europe, that it will all go well, that it is easy and will bring lots of money - are liars", Macron said.

Mr Stride told Sky News: "When we have a firm deal on the table, I suspect that those to the right of the party - the pro-Brexit wing - will be very concerned that if that deal does not prevail, they will end up in the situation where we could have a second referendum or we could end up not leaving the European Union altogether, so there is a danger of that happening if Chequers does not prevail".

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Macron called the Chequers plan "unacceptable, especially on the economic side, because it does not respect the integrity of the single market".

The UK could gain special access to the single market but might have to, in return, compromise on immigration agreements.

In London, the PM was hosting Manfred Weber, leader of the EPP - the main centre-right group in the European Parliament - in Downing Street. "But if we all act responsibly, we can avoid a catastrophe", he said.

"I think the Chequers deal sets out a deliverable, workable plan".

He added: "I've not seen these two camps at the table".

"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.

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

Brussels and London have made positive noises in recent days on major obstacles, including how to keep an open border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, though investors have shied away from taking big bets.

"Neither side can demand the unacceptable of the other, such as an external customs border between different parts of the United Kingdom - which no other country would accept if they were in the same situation - or the UK seeking the rights of European Union membership without the obligations", she wrote.

Other reports by GizPress

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