May in fight to save Chequers Brexit plan after Salzburg ambush

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 21, 2018

European Council president Donald Tusk identified both as areas where the UK's proposals would need to be "reworked".

British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with European leaders in Salzburg, Austria.

"Those people are liars".

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.

"She is playing a game of Russian Roulette with the country which is frankly an insult to the referendum result and all those people who voted, no matter how they voted".

Responding to Tusk's comments, May insisted that her deal "remains the only serious and credible option", on the table.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis, who quit the government in July, said on Thursday that the Chequers plan was "devoid of democracy" and "worse than no deal". "If sentiment sours making a "no deal" scenario more likely, then we could see the pound tumble", said City Index analyst Kathleen Brooks.

In a brief statement in Salzburg on Wednesday, Tusk said that while proposals hashed out by May and her Cabinet at her Chequers country retreat are a "positive evolution", the issues surrounding the Irish border and economic cooperation need to be "reworked and further negotiated".

Tariffs of 10 percent under World Trade Organization rules would add an average of 3,000 euros to the cost of British-built cars sold in the EU if fully passed on to buyers, and 1,700 euros to the cost of a European auto imported into Britain, the SMMT said. 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.

The main sticking point continues to be how to handle the border between Northern Ireland, which will remain part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which will continue to be part of the EU.

"It has been clear for weeks that Theresa May's Chequers' proposals can not deliver the comprehensive plan we need to protect jobs, the economy and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland", he said. But that backstop can not divide the United Kingdom into two customs territories, and we will be bringing forward our own proposals shortly.

With both sides digging in, "the assumption that an eleventh-hour deal will be clinched is predicated - on both sides - on the firm belief that the other will capitulate on the backstop question", says The Daily Telegraph's Peter Foster.

"The moment of truth for Brexit negotiations will be the October European Council", Tusk said.

"The Brexit teaches us something - and I completely respect British sovereignty when I say that - it showed that those who say that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be alright, and that it's going to bring in a lot of money are liars", he said. We gave people their choice - people made their choice.

BMW this week said it would move the annual maintenance shutdown period for its British Mini plant to just after Britain is due to leave the European Union in case there is no Brexit deal.

Number 10 had not hoped for a breakthrough at this summit in Salzburg. May faces a rough ride at the Conservative party conference in a few weeks, with challengers to her leadership waiting in the wings. The other leaders will then discuss their response without her.

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