European Union warns Britain it must 'rework' Brexit plans

Lester Mason
September 20, 2018

A senior Downing Street source said she would repeat her message at a meeting of European Union leaders in Salzburg on Wednesday and Thursday (19 and 20 September) that Britain was proposing "a fair arrangement that will work for the EU's economy as well as the UK's".

But the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May's minority administration in Parliament, dismissed Mr Barnier's proposals as unpalatable because they would involve a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Brussels had moved its position and Britain should respond in kind.

Downing Street sources said she believed that with "goodwill and determination on both sides we can avoid a disorderly exit and reach a deal in the best interests of both sides".

Tusk said some elements of the British plan, known as Chequers for the country house where it was hammered out in July "indicated positive evolution in the UK's approach".

As Brexit negotiators continue searching for a compromise on several sticking points, including the future of the border between Ireland and the U.K., European Council President Donald Tusk reiterated Wednesday that "the U.K.'s proposals will need to be reworked and further negotiated".

Ahead of the summit in Austria, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he was ready to come forward with a new offer on the Irish border.

Supporters of Brexit in London have hailed Brussels' embrace of remote, high-tech customs controls as a sign that European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier is giving ground in order to resolve a stalemate on Northern Ireland that has held up a deal.

Writing in Germany's Die Welt, May said the two sides were "near to achieving the orderly withdrawal that is an essential basis for building a close future partnership".

The UK auto industry has demanded Brexit negotiators rule out a "no-deal" scenario immediately, to avoid costly damage to the sector across Europe.

The Prime Minister is expected to brief the other 27 leaders on proposals over dinner on Wednesday and they will then have a separate discussion on Thursday after she has left.

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. "I am still optimistic".

May said her Chequers proposal on a future customs and trade arrangement would maintain "frictionless trade" with the bloc, and that it 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".

"On Brexit, it's very hard".

Brussels has insisted Northern Ireland must stay aligned with its rules unless another solution can be found to preventing physical checks on goods crossing to and from the Irish Republic.

Efforts to find an acceptable way to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland suffered a further setback as Mrs May's DUP allies poured cold water on the latest European Union offer.

"We have shown a lot of flexibility and we have been very pragmatic".

May's parliamentary majority depends on support from Northern Ireland loyalists bitterly opposed to any weakening of links with the United Kingdom and she faces a hard Conservative Party conference at the end of month.

May has told lawmakers that they will vote either for a Chequers-based deal or to leave without an agreement.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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