Donald Tusk has come out today saying that Theresa May will have to ‘rework’ the Chequers plan, especially in the key areas of future trade relations and on the crucial question of the Irish border.
Mr Tusk, speaking ahead of an informal European Council meeting in Salzburg, said that although there had been progress in the negotiations, time was beginning to run out and the British Government has many areas to address in its proposed option. He has therefore called for an emergency summit to take place in November to finalise the details of a future deal.
EU leaders strongly disagree with a central proposition in the British Government’s Chequers plan that Britain should participate in some parts of the single market, especially manufactured goods and agriculture, but not in others. It is viewed by the status quo as ‘cherry picking’ in the extreme.
The proposed “free trade area” would exclude services and the British Government does not envisage Britain observing single market obligations, such as free movement of people and contributions to the EU budget.
Yet on the British side, there are growing concerns that the Government will only fall to further demands the EU may put forward.
Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 in London this morning, former UK Brexit Secretary David Davis, savaged his Government’s approach and called for an alternative based mostly on the EU’s deal with Canada. Mr Davis stressed that the EU’s negotiating style is to “move at the last possible minute, after they’ve tested your metal, after they’ve taken you to the cliff edge” and then see what else you may be willing to give up.
As a result, the British Government’s proposal is being met with ire on all sides and there will be a strong fight on the leaders hands to pass it through the both the EU and the British Parliaments.