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REVIEW – Theresa May Besieged By EU27 At Salzburg

BRUSSELS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 21st September, 2018) UK Prime Minister Theresa May learned firsthand that politicians are supposed to have thick skin as she heard her Chequers plan for Brexit attacked at the informal EU summit in Salzburg.

The two-day gathering that came to a close on Thursday was followed on Friday by May‘s angry speech on Brexit, where she reiterated that a border separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom was unthinkable.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that there could be no compromises on the single market.

“The Chequers plan will not work. It will undermine the European single market. The October European Council meeting will be the moment of truth, when to decide if we organize an extra summit in November to formalize a deal or not,” Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said Thursday.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised May for making a bold decision with the plan, but he, too, said it was unacceptable, especially regarding its economic aspects.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Thursday he was hoping for a Brexit deal and considered it a more likely scenario than a lack of one. However, the general mood was not particularly favorable to Chequers.

Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, had good words in Salzburg for May‘s efforts but declared on Thursday that his government was hiring staff to prepare for the possibility of Brexit talks collapsing.

May is facing some trouble at home as well: even within her own Conservative Party there are dissenting voices. Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson made his skepticism clear as he resigned over Chequers. Mike Penning, who served as minister of state for the Armed Forces in 2016-2017, earlier this week pronounced May‘s plan “dead as a dodo.”

The Brexiteers are more vocal than ever.

Salzburg was an absolute humiliation for Mrs May and for Britain. Both her plan, called the Chequers plan for a soft exit, and the prime minister herself are totally dead in the water.

Britain needs a real Brexiteer in charge who can stand up to the bully boys in Brussels,” Margot Parker, a member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and of the European Parliament, told Sputnik.

Parker stressed that UKIP had repeatedly called for the United Kingdom to leave the bloc as early as possible.

“We would have avoided this catastrophe and we would be reaping the rewards of Brexit. Instead we are stuck with a ‘Remainer’ prime minister with no plan for a proper Brexit. It was evident in her hesitant reactions in Salzburg. The only people pushing for a hard border in Ireland are [EU negotiator] Michel Barnier and his EU team. They are using it as a political weapon and it is unacceptable to compromise the integrity of the UK,” the member of the EU parliament said.

The mood is similar in the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group (ENF) group in the European parliament.

“Our group calls for the EU 27 to reject Mrs May‘s unworkable Chequers Plan and instead offer the UK a Free Trade Agreement which would be beneficial to both the United Kingdom and the EU Member States and which does not make open borders a precondition to free trade,” Vice President of the ENF Janice Atkinson told Sputnik.

Atkinson said that the Irish border was “a false problem.”

“It was always considered as a bargaining tool by Barnier but there was always a technological solution on the table, that would make the border real but at the same time fluid in its crossing,” Atkinson explained.

The politician stressed that the United Kingdom and the European Union would remain close under any agreement.

“England does not sail away! We will keep tight economic and political links, it is a will on both sides of the Channel,” Atkinson stressed.

May has emphasized repeatedly that there would be no second referendum and that the people have made their choice. At the same time, her predecessor David Cameron at one point stressed that he would remain the prime minister regardless of the Brexit referendum outcome. He did not.

Rukhshan Mir (@rukhshanmirpk)  Fri 21st September 2018 | 10:48 PM


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