European Union leaders react to May's Brexit deal

Lloyd Doyle
September 20, 2018

European Union summit chairman Donald Tusk repeated criticism of her proposals for future customs arrangements and for the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland, saying these needed to be reworked.

European Council President Donald Tusk said that major hurdles remained, including the UK's policy on Ireland and the future trading relationship between Britain and the EU.

The leaders of Lithuania and Slovakia said after the dinner that "no progress" had been made. The 27 member states are due to discuss the issue on Thursday. "They are trying to be nice to her and there will be nice words tomorrow".

The informal gathering in Austria is unlikely to bring concrete results - but both sides see a chance for progress ahead of crucial forthcoming European Union summits.

Warning that there was "less and less time" to reach a deal before the UK's March 29 2019 exit date, Tusk confirmed he would propose an emergency EU Brexit summit in November. We've put the Chequers plan on the table and that does deliver for people.

The EU is aware of the domestic dangers facing May as she approaches the Conservative party conference, and beyond.

London and Brussels should rule out a "no deal" Brexit, which could add at least 5.7 billion euros ($6.65 billion) in vehicle tariffs and snarl up production, Britain's automotive industry body warned on Wednesday.

Reports have suggested the former may be fudged as part of a political declaration on future ties. But the latter must be dealt with as part and parcel of the withdrawal accord.

BMW announced yesterday that it would be closing the Oxford Mini factory for "several weeks" immediately after Brexit to preempt any component-supply disruptions if a no-deal agreement is reached between Britain and the EU.

May wrote in Die Welt that a hard border either between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom would threaten peace and stability on the island.

- The negativity piled on a few minutes later, when Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that the sides remain "no closer" to a deal than they were "in March".


Mr Barnier said he was working on a plan to "de-dramatise" the controls that would be necessary in the event of the backstop coming into play.

'We are ready to improve this proposal.

The UK industry - already feeling the effects of a crackdown on diesel-powered cars in its largest European Union markets amid jittery demand - fears Brexit could result in lost access to vital European Union workers and massive costs from tariffs and additional red tape including supply chain disruption.

But she said there was no chance, as things stand, they will go anywhere near touching a different customs system for Northern Ireland, which would create more friction on the border.

"We can also clarify that most checks can take place away from the border at the company premises or in the markets".

The Northern Irish party that props up May's minority government in parliament dismissed Barnier's comments.

Mr Stride, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, added: "I think those on the other end of the spectrum will equally be very concerned that if Chequers does not prevail, we could end up in a no-deal situation".

The Wetherspoon boss announced earlier this year he would stop selling EU-made booze in his pub chain in a bid to promote British brands.

Looming ever larger is the spectre of a "no deal" scenario - something that many Brexit supporters say could be tolerated, even welcomed by some - but which is widely seen by many economists and business people as catastrophic.

On Tuesday German carmaker BMW said it planned to bring forward its annual maintenance shutdown period for its British Mini plant, in case there is no deal.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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