Britain, EU clash over who should make next move on Brexit

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The prime minister also said she would present a counter-proposal to resolve the impasse over the Irish backstop, an EU proposal stipulating that if a free trade agreement can not be signed after Brexit then Northern Ireland would remain in the customs union, creating a trade border down the Irish Sea.

Mrs May said 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".

Downing Street hadn't expected an enthusiastic reception for the Chequers plan from European Union leaders but, after a series of cautious interventions from Michel Barnier, the hope was that they would make the political space for her to keep her fractious party on board - leaving the serious haggling for October.

"If we feel that we are able to finalise and formalise our deal in November, I will call this extraordinary meeting, but not as an emergency but as a punchline of effective negotiations before October and during our October EU council meeting", he 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.

EU Council President Donald Tusk has previously said "our door remains open" if Britain changes its mind about leaving the bloc.

The Daily Telegraph says the European Union leaders made a "mistake" if their actions were meant to alter British opinion on Brexit.

After a dinner of Wiener schnitzel in Salzburg, EU leaders said they would push for a Brexit deal next month but rejected May's proposal.


Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the influential European Research Group of pro-Brexit Tories and a prominent critic of the Prime Minister's plan, summed up events in Salzburg by tweeting "Chequers goes pop" with the hashtag #ChuckChequers. "Just think of all the people everyday who cross the border to work or study, think of all the businesses who trade across the border, so that's what we're trying to engineer in many ways, is a new relationship that at least when it comes to those matters, is very much like the one we have now, but that's hard to do". He said that while there were "positive elements" in May's Chequers plan, a deal that puts the single market at risk can not be accepted.

Like many leaders, including May, Tusk said, "We need to compromise on both sides".

"We are ready for that eventuality, should it occur".

Few diplomats expected any breakthrough from the Salzburg summit as the European Union has repeatedly made clear that May must rework her "Chequers" proposals, which she insisted were the only serious plan.

Despite all of this, May remained upbeat: she said the United Kingdom will "shortly" come forward with new proposals on the so-called Irish "backstop" arrangements for implementation at the border if no long-term solution is found.

May says she can not accept having customs checks within the United Kingdom. Then we will decide whether conditions are there to call an extraordinary summit in November to finalize and formalize the deal,"he added".

With barely six months until Britain leaves the bloc, at the risk of serious disruption if there is no deal to tie up legal loose ends, there is pressure on both sides: "You can hear very clearly the clock ticking in the room", said the second diplomat.

Summit meeting: (left-right) Leo Varadkar, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas.

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