EU Chief Says U.K. Prime Minister's Brexit Proposal 'Won't Work'

Elias Hubbard
September 21, 2018

Mr Tusk, who has insisted Britain can not "cherry-pick" benefits of European Union membership to retain, took a pop at the prime minister by putting a photo of them choosing cakes at the summit on Instagram.

Speaking about the talks with other European leaders in Salzburg, Ms Davidson said: "Today she has had a setback".

"There are some issues where we are not ready to compromise", Tusk said.

Challenges to her Brexit plan and her leadership will take center stage at a raucous party conference in early October.

"There are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, but the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market", Tusk said.

In Mrs May's absence on Thursday, the 27 other European Union leaders will discuss issues including the UK's future relationship with the European Union and how to resolve the problems around the Irish border.

May has claimed that her proposals were the "only serious, credible" way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.

"We need to compromise on both sides", said Tusk, highlighting the importance of the October 18-19 summit in Brussels.

But with time running out for the United Kingdom to reach a deal, Ms Davidson said: "It is absolutely right that people have their say about what sort of Brexit they want, but we are right down to crunch time now, we're talking weeks not months".

The prime minister's economic plans, which would end free movement and keep frictionless trade in goods but not services, were given equally short shrift.

France's president Emmanuel Macron said the EU's backstop should be "precisely preserved" in any agreement.

Macron bluntly said May's Brexit proposals, known as Chequers after the country house where they were agreed by the British cabinet in July, were "unacceptable". Neither side wants an arrangement that would require the rebuilding of border infrastructure, the removal of which was a key part of the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland after years of sectarian strife. "We need to get away from the idea of anyone trying to create a border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain".

Transport Secretary Mr Grayling told BBC Newsnight they had put forward the only proposal that meets the UK's red lines and also provides the "right solution" for the Irish border.

Mrs May now faces calls to abandon the Chequers plan completely from many within her own party who were unhappy with it in the first place.

In his press conference last night, Mr Macron said: 'Brexit is the choice of the British people and it is a choice pushed by certain people who predicted easy solutions, ' he said in Salzburg, ' he said.

However, May has today told European Union leaders that "the only proposal on the table is my proposal", and that "there will be no second Brexit referendum".

If that happens, there would be 21 months of what is being a called a "transition period".

"It's even more true since they left the day after so as not to have to deal with it", he added, referring to top Brexit proponents.

But Tusk said that was now contingent on May reworking her Chequers plan by Ocotber.

Concern was mounting at the informal summit that no final Brexit deal will be approved ahead of the March 31, 2019 deadline and that no plan for a smooth and orderly British exit from the bloc.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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