May takes defiant stance with European Union over Brexit

Arturo Kim
September 21, 2018

The left-leaning Guardian said "May humiliated", while the right-of-centre Sun branded bloc leaders "EU dirty rats".

At a summit in Austria on Thursday, EU leaders said they would push for a Brexit deal next month but rejected May's "Chequers" plan, saying she need to give ground on trade and arrangements for the United Kingdom border with Ireland. Her Chequers plan also faces opposition from pro-Brexit members of her own Conservative Party, including former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who say it would keep Britain tethered to the bloc, unable to strike new trade deals around the world. The conservative Times of London said: "Humiliation for May as European Union rejects Brexit plan".

Theresa May was hoping that the Salzburg summit could be the moment that her political fortunes changed.

"Brexit is a choice made by the British people and a choice that was pushed by certain people who predicted easy solutions", Macron said, referring to the Britain's June 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. "Those people are liars".

He said: "The manner in which they did it yesterday took many of us by surprise".

Yet British politicians and diplomats were taken aback by Tusk's blunt dismissal of the Chequers plan on Thursday - and by his light-hearted Instagram post showing Tusk and May looking at a dessert tray and the words: "A piece of cake, perhaps?"

The tone of some of their comments, particularly the irony of European Council President Donald Tusk, left May exposed at home as she heads into what is expected to be a tumultuous annual conference of her Conservative Party from September 30.

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May asked for more time to solve the thorny issue of what to do about the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

"Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal for economic cooperation, the suggested framework will not work - not least because it risks undermining the single market", he said.

It's not just that the arrangement undermines basic single market rules.

If it left without a deal, the country would move from seamless trade with the European Union to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states.

She says Britain will now step up its preparations for walking away without a deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned, "There is still a lot of work to do on the question of how future trade relations will look".

If a possible deal were rejected by the British parliament, Britain would face leaving the European Union without an agreement, delaying Brexit or calling another referendum.

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