European Union also preparing for 'No Deal Brexit'

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier waits for the start of a General Affairs Article 50 Council at the Europa building in Brussels Tuesday Sept. 18 2018. A top European Union official on Tuesday said Britain and the EU could yet fail to reach

UK's May seeks more compromise from EU ahead of meeting

Mr Grayling told the BBC that despite the outcome of the Salzburg summit, he is still confident that an agreement can be reached but warned Britain is preparing hard for a no-deal situation.

However, May warned it would not happen under her leadership, saying: "The UK will leave on March 29 next year".

This would keep Northern Ireland under EU economic oversight if London and Brussels can not agree a trade pact to keep UK-EU borders open after a transition period ends in 2020 - an idea that May and a small party in the province that props up her minority government oppose.

This wouldn't exactly fill you with confidence with regards to the Irish border, which was described as the "priority" today.


However, moments later, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that her plan was the only "serious and credible" one on the table. Brussels has baulked at May's proposals for a future customs arrangement and for Northern Ireland. It came after Mr Gove called on Eurosceptics to get behind Mrs May's Chequers plan by arguing it can always be adapted after Brexit.

It feels that the search for something else has been in vain.

May insists that no prime minister can accept a different customs regime, a kind of border, within the United Kingdom, even as a backstop.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister's negotiating strategy had been a "disaster".

A senior British government official also said it would bring forward a backstop proposal for regulatory checks on goods crossing into and from Northern Ireland, raising the possibility of a breakthrough.

"The referendum was the largest democratic exercise this country has ever undergone", said May, who has repeatedly ruled out a second vote following the original 2016 referendum.

May also said there would be "no second Brexit referendum".

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On the other hand, maybe Britain can demand a "free unicorn for everyone" Brexit, but that doesn't mean the European Union has any to hand in a convenient Brussels stable.

"They build up, there's tough language and actually a deal is done at the last. Hopefully by then we will reach an agreement with Great Britain".

European leaders were equally blunt, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying the EU27 were agreed that, "in the matter of the single market, there can be no compromises".

But he added negotiations were not yet at an "end game" and said Chequers was "broadly" a package that could get through Parliament.

May said Friday the European Union was "making a fundamental mistake" if it believed she would agree to "any form of customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K".

Theresa May's efforts to persuade European Union leaders to back her Chequers plan for Brexit during a two-day summit in Salzburg appear to have failed.

"Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the [UK] proposal", said European Council President Donald Tusk, but then added that "the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market".

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte labelled the Brexit negotiations "a balancing act" and the leaders will have further opportunities to thrash an agreement out when they meet again in Brussels on October 18 and again in mid-November.

Macron reiterated Tusk's comments and heightened the Brexit rhetoric.

"That deal of course would involve three elements, so withdrawal agreements providing for the United Kingdom to leave with a transition period, a protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland making sure that under all circumstances there won't be a hard border on the island of Ireland, and also a joint political declaration outlining what that new relationship is going to look like".

While Mrs May works on new detail on the backstop, she faces the hard prospect of finding a solution that is palatable to the DUP in Northern Ireland - on whom she relies for a majority - as well as to Europe and her own party.

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