Theresa May to make statement on Brexit negotiations

Leroy Wright
September 21, 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk ripped up Mrs May's blueprint for Brexit on Thursday, saying it risked the integrity of the EU single market and the Northern Ireland border.

Theresa May's Brexit policy was dealt a devastating blow today as European Commission President Donald Tusk stated blunty: "It will not work".

Under Chequers, Britain would basically remain a member of the EU's single market for goods and abide by European Union rules governing that market. She said the United Kingdom would shortly be bringing forward its own proposals.

She acknowledged that a bilateral meeting with Tusk was "frank".

"She began to read out the article", a diplomat told The Times.

That plan "remains the only serious and credible proposition on the table", she said.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a press conference at the end of the EU Informal Summit of Heads of State or Government at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, on September 20, 2018.

Mrs May has indicated that she will come forward "shortly" with new proposals on the thorny issue of the Irish border, which has emerged as the main obstacle to progress.

Mrs May now faces having to fight to salvage her plans at the Tory party conference ahead of a "moment of truth" - as described by Mr Tusk - when the European Union leaders meet again on October 18, the Financial Times says. If next month's talks are successful, a deal could be formalised in mid-November, he suggested.

It's clear that significant gaps remain between both sides.

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"Without a clear and precise solution for the Irish question and for the whole context of our future relations it will be hard to even imagine a positive process after October", he said.

Many of her MPs, and some of her cabinet, would prefer to see her dump Chequers and seek a Canada-style free trade agreement, but the problems that would cause for the future of the Northern Irish border seem near insurmountable.

The First Minister said: "A no-deal Brexit will, by the United Kingdom government's own admission, lead to dire economic consequences and a shortage of medicines and foodstuffs". But she added: "We are preparing for no deal".

"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.

Some leaders expressed deep frustration.

He was joined by French president Emmanuel Macron, who dismissed the entire Brexit project as being pursued by "liars".

"We want to ensure predictability for our people and businesses so we want to somehow ease, mitigate the sometimes very tense and hard negotiations for Britain's exit from the European Union because we really want to break the impasse" between them, Morawiecki added.

"Ritual dance is always a part of such negotiations", a senior adviser to one of May's summit peers told Reuters. Both sides want to show a tough face.

It leaves Mrs May with little defence from circling Brexiteers in her own party, with just over a week until the Conservative conference.

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