Britain tells EU to engage seriously on Brexit, EU demurs




  • In World
  • 2018-09-22 17:45:19Z
  • By By Alistair Smout

By Alistair Smout

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Saturday it would not "capitulate" to EU demands in Brexit talks and again urged its partners to engage with its proposals, as French and German ministers suggested the next move in the negotiations should come from London.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday demanded new proposals and respect from European Union leaders, saying after a summit in Austria that talks had hit an impasse - a position her foreign minister reinforced on Saturday, even if that meant leaving the bloc next March without a deal.

"If the EU's view is that just by saying no to every proposal made by the United Kingdom, we will eventually capitulate and end up either with a Norway option or indeed staying in the EU... then they've profoundly misjudged he British people," Jeremy Hunt told BBC radio.

"We may be polite, but we have a bottom line. And so they need to engage with us now in seriousness."

May's defiant statement was welcomed on Saturday by many in the British press that had seen the Salzburg summit as a failure for her. The strongly eurosceptic Daily Express said it was "May's finest hour".

DIGGING IN

But initial reactions from across the English Channel suggested France and Germany were digging in too.

EU leaders and May have said they want to get a deal agreed in October, to be finalised in November.

In Paris, Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau said that, while France still believed a good Brexit deal was possible, it must also prepare for a 'no deal' outcome.

Britain's vote to leave "cannot lead to the EU going bust," she said on France Info radio. "That's the message we have tried to send for several months now to our British counterparts, who may have thought we were going to say 'yes' to whatever deal they came up with."

In Berlin, German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said the other 27 EU states were striving to achieve reasonable solutions. "The blame game against the EU is therefore more than unfair. We can't solve the problems that are arising on the island (Britain) due to Brexit," he said on Twitter.

In London, the pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph reported that May faced the prospect of ministerial resignations next week if she failed to come up with an alternative to the "Chequers" Brexit plan that she presented in Austria.

But domestically, even some critics of May's plan backed the prime minister in her standoff against the EU.

"I have a serious difference of opinion with our prime minister. But, even so, I have to tell you that I view the behavior of the European Union leaders in Salzburg with contempt," David Davis, the former Brexit minister who resigned in protest at Chequers, said in a speech at a "Leave Means Leave" rally in the northern English town of Bolton.

"Disrespect our prime minister, and you disrespect our country."

After May's Friday statement, European Council President Donald Tusk said that the results of the EU's analysis of that plan had been known to Britain for many weeks. But Hunt said there was a difference between rhetoric and substance.

"On the substance of the Chequers proposals, we have not had a detailed response," he said, adding that EU proposals for the Irish border would mean that it was impossible "to leave the EU intact as one country".

May has accepted the need for a "backstop" insurance policy on the Irish border, but says the EU's version of the proposal would see Northern Ireland carved off from the United Kingdom.

The EU says May's proposal, keeping the province and mainland Britain in the same regulatory space, undermines the single market.

Despite the differences, Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told RTE radio an Irish backstop was "doable" by an October summit.

BUMPY AND DIFFICULT

Hunt said Britain wanted a deal but would be able to withstand a no-deal Brexit.

"Even in a situation where we aren't able to come to an agreement, we would be trading on World Trade Organisation terms. It would be bumpy, it would be difficult, but we would find a way to survive and prosper as a country," Hunt said.

"We've had far bigger challenges in our history."

In Berlin, magazine Der Spiegel said Germany's government expected the impact of a no-deal Brexit on its labor market to be "relatively small". It cited a government response to a request for information from the far-left Linke party.

However, the Times reported that Bank of England Governor Mark Carney had told May's ministers that no Brexit deal could mean a fall of GDP in the rest of the EU of between 1 and 1.25 percent, without citing sources. The BoE declined to comment.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; additiional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris, Michelle Martin in Berlin and Conor Humphries in Dublin; editing by John Stonestreet and Gareth Jones)

COMMENTS

More Related News

UK Labour leader Corbyn says he could back a second Brexit referendum
UK Labour leader Corbyn says he could back a second Brexit referendum
  • World
  • 2019-02-22 21:23:14Z

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said if his party won power he would renegotiate a Brexit deal with the European Union and could hold another referendum, as he comes under pressure to support giving the public another chance to stay in the bloc. Parliament is deadlocked over Britain's departure

EU drafting retaliatory tariff list hitting Caterpillar, Xerox, Samsonite: Bloomberg
EU drafting retaliatory tariff list hitting Caterpillar, Xerox, Samsonite: Bloomberg

The European Union has drafted a list of retaliatory tariffs that would target Caterpillar Inc, Xerox Corp and Samsonite International if U.S. President Donald Trump imposes duties on European cars, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing an unnamed senior EU official. Trump, who is known to have a strong protectionist bent on trade, has said the United States will impose tariffs on European car imports if it is unable to reach a trade deal with the European Union. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in July that Trump promised he would hold off for the time being while the two sides sought to improve trade relations, such as with a deal to cut tariffs on "non-auto...

Germany
Germany's Merkel offers Juncker solidarity in Hungary spat

BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that the head of the European Union's executive branch has her full support in the face of a new Hungarian government campaign alleging that EU headquarters has purposely weakened the bloc's external borders to let in more migrants.

Climate activist Thunberg urges EU to double its carbon reduction targets
Climate activist Thunberg urges EU to double its carbon reduction targets

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has inspired pupils worldwide to boycott classes, urged the European Union on Thursday to double its ambition for greenhouse gas cuts. At an EU conference, Thunberg warned that politicians who fail to tackle climate change will be "remembered as the greatest villains of all time" for leading the world to disaster. "If the EU is to make its fair contribution to staying within the (Paris climate deal) carbon budget for a two-degree limit, it means a minimum of 80 percent reduction by 2030," Thunberg told the conference, receiving warm applause.

Turkey condemns European parliament committee call to suspend accession
Turkey condemns European parliament committee call to suspend accession
  • World
  • 2019-02-21 06:51:02Z

Turkey criticized on Thursday as "unacceptable" a vote by the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee calling for the suspension of EU accession negotiations with it. The Foreign Affairs Committee called on the European Commission and member states on Wednesday to formally suspend EU accession negotiations with Turkey, citing disregard for human rights and civil liberties, influence on the judiciary, and disputes over territory with Cyprus and other neighbors. "It is absolutely unacceptable that the non-binding, advisory draft report is calling for a total suspension of our accession talks to the EU," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.