Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

UK's May seeks more compromise from European Union ahead of meeting

UK's May seeks more compromise from European Union ahead of meeting

Other European leaders pushed back against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan on Wednesday, hours before she was due to try to sell it to them at a summit in Austria.

The Prime Minister will address leaders of the other EU nations at a meeting in Salzburg tomorrow but will be given a brief time slot - despite European leaders being in the Austrian city for two days.

The UK vehicle industry has demanded Brexit negotiators rule out a "no-deal" scenario immediately, to avoid costly damage to the sector across Europe. "We will see whether an agreement is in reach at that moment based on a subjective evaluation which I will be submitting in reporting to the European leaders on the state of negotiations".

She said: "I believe that I have put forward serious and workable proposals".

Discussing reports Britain issuing an ultimatum to Brussels, Mr Martin told Good Morning Britain: "What we should do is make clear that when we leave we're going to end tariffs, we're not going to pay £39 billion - £600 per person - regain fishing and encourage other countries to come invest in this country".

But in a blow to her efforts to persuade fellow leaders of the viability of her plan, it emerged her former Brexit secretary David Davis had described Chequers as a "non-starter".

But May has shown little sign of backing away from her "Chequers" plan. "This is why many of us will shortly be presenting an alternative plan which will outline a more ambitious vision".

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said Tuesday that the EU is ready to adapt its proposal on the Irish border in order to "de-dramatize" the issue.

And Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettell stressed there could be "no cherry picking".

"It still means a border down the Irish Sea although with different kinds of checks".

US warns Russia against meddling in Macedonia EU referendum
However he did not call openly for a boycott of the referendum, but said that people should vote according to their consciences. Greece argues the name implies a territorial claim against the northern Greek region of Macedonia and its ancient heritage.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which props up 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.

"UKIP has always said that no deal, which is really reverting to WTO terms, is better than a bad deal with the EU".

The British government says the EU's fallback plan would effectively keep Northern Ireland in a customs union with the EU after the rest of the United Kingdom leaves - creating a border down the Irish Sea.

EU negotiators say the problem is not only about customs but also ensuring the goods coming into the EU are produced according to EU rules, which Britain wants to shed.

Reports suggest that European Union officials are keen not to appear too hostile to May, or box her into an even more entrenched position - aware that she faces a daunting task to placate many doubters within her ruling Conservative Party, and to persuade a reluctant parliament to back a deal.

Campaigners for the "People's Vote" suggest that a motion in the House of Commons at the time of the vote could be used to secure a referendum, as could amendments to Brexit legislation.

Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat has said there is "almost unanimous" support among EU leaders for Britain to hold a second referendum on membership of the union.

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.

"It is profoundly in both sides' economic interest, it respects the integrity of the single market and, crucially, no-one else has come up with a proposal that could command cross-community support in Northern Ireland that is the only true foundation for stability there", she said.

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