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EU: UK post-Brexit economic plan will not work, would undercut single market

21.09.2018, 21:25 2739
The United Kingdom prime minister's proposals on a post-Brexit economic framework with the European Union will not work as they risk undermining the bloc's single market, the president of the European Council said Thursday as an informal summit came to a close in the Austrian city of Salzburg, EFE reports.

Donald Tusk's comments came as a fresh bruising for Theresa May's so-called Chequers plan, which the conservative leader has steadfastly stood by as the only approach to follow on the Brexit negotiations despite calls from hardline backbenchers in her own ranks who would rather exit the bloc without a deal at all.

Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements to the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work," said the Polish head of the Council. "Not least because it risks undermining the single market."

Another sticking point in the withdrawal negotiations takes the form of the Irish border and how to keep it barrier-free for trade and people once the UK has formally left the EU, which is scheduled to take place in Mar. 2019.

EU negotiators have called on the UK government to create a backstop plan to ensure that the border between the Irish Republic, an EU member, and Northern Ireland. May met with Tusk on Thursday.

We both agree there can be no withdrawal agreement without a legally operative backstop, but that backstop cannot divide the United Kingdom into two customs territories," she told reporters at a separate press conference. "On the economic partnership, there is no solution that will resolve the Northern Ireland border that is not based on the frictionless movement of goods," she added.

She said the UK would bring forward proposals on how that could be achieved.

Tusk said he hoped an agreement on Brexit could be achieved by the EU Council in October, but suggested an extraordinary summit could be held the following month if necessary.

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