European leaders pushed back against UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan, calling on London to rework some of the crucial proposals it has made as part of a plan for the country’s withdrawal from the bloc.
EU Council President Donadl Tusk said Wednesday ahead of an EU summit in Austria that Britain needed to reconsider its plans for the future administration of the border on the island of Ireland as well as its proposed mechanism for future customs arrangements.
“The UK’s proposals will need to be reworked and further negotiated,” said Tusk while elaborating that some elements of the British plan, known as Chequers for May’s country residence where it was announced in July, “indicated positive evolution in the UK’s approach”.
May had hoped that she could gain a general approval of EU leaders for her Brexit strategy when they gather in Salzburg, Austria, on Thursday.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, however, that EU expected Britain to compromise to respond in kind to Brussels’ concessions.
“If you want to make a deal both sides will need to try to find a compromise,” he said Wednesday.
Tusk, who chairs the Salzburg summit, said an additional meeting of EU leaders could be called in the middle of November to hammer out a deal on Brexit.
EU and Britain seem to be locked in a dispute on how to avoid a hard border between the EU member Ireland and UK province of Northern Ireland. London is adamant that it could not allow the EU to move its customs frontier to the Irish Sea and separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
The disagreement on Chequers come as Brussels is quite aware that piling more pressure on May would weaken her position in the face of critics at home who prefer seeing Britain crash out of the EU without a deal.