Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

European Union leaders 'almost unanimous' for second Brexit vote: Malta PM

European Union leaders 'almost unanimous' for second Brexit vote: Malta PM

European Union leaders refused to give ground to Britain's Theresa May on Thursday, warning that her Brexit plan is unacceptable even as she offered to come up with new proposals for the Irish border.

But May says any Irish deal must hinge on the EU accepting her country's proposal, which would - for a limited time - keep the United Kingdom in the European single market and customs union when it comes to trading goods.

Mr Tusk said of the so-called Chequers proposals: "the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market".

European Union leaders will meet again at a formal summit in October, which Tusk called "the moment of truth" for Brexit negotiations.

Tusk cast doubt on a special Brexit summit pencilled in for November, saying if sufficient progress towards a deal wasn't made in the next four weeks that meeting would not go ahead.

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.

Barnier, mandated by European Union leaders to conduct negotiations, has called Chequers a starting point but not an end deal.

As for European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, he said that that the EU executive has prepared "in detail" for a "no deal" Brexit, "so be happy, don't worry".

May faces opposition from not only a hard-bargaining Europe, which does not want to make it too appealing for members to leave their club, but also her own Conservative Party, populated by hard-line Brexiteers such as former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who disparages the prime minister's exit plan as a weak capitulation to Brussels.

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"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".

A senior Tory MP previously regarded as a Theresa May loyalist has broken ranks and dismissed her Chequers plan as "dead as a dodo".

Keir Starmer MP, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, said: "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".

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "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".

May was also set an October deadline for a solution on the Irish border issue just hours after informing Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, in a private breakfast meeting that she felt it would be impossible to come to a compromise within such a timescale. She said she doesn't think it's possible by the October council.

After the summit, May repeated her stance that Chequers 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".

It prompted two ministers to resign and among politicians is opposed by both supporters and opponents of Brexit.

May reiterated this stance in her German article. But she added: "We are preparing for no deal".

Carmakers are anxious that port and motorway holdups could slow the movement of components and finished models, crippling output and adding costs, if Britain fails to reach agreement with the European Union over its departure from the bloc on March 29.

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