EU’s Donald Tusk Says Theresa May’s Brexit Plan “Will Not Work”

European Council president Donald Tusk said on Thursday that Theresa May’s Brexit plan “will not work”, while the prime minister insisted that her plan was the “only serious and credible” proposal on the table.

Speaking at the closing news conference at the EU leaders’ summit in Salzburg, Tusk insisted key aspects of Brexit plans presented by the PM “will not work” in their current form, warning that the plans risked undermining the EU’s single market.

“While there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work,” Tusk said. “not least because it will risk undermining the single market.”

“We need to compromise on both sides,” Tusk said. “This is the very essence of negotiations.”

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May said she had held “frank” talks with the Council President, arguing: “Yes, concerns have been raised and I want to know what those concerns are.”

Tusk said it must be clear that there are “some issues” where we are not ready to compromise, first of all this is “our four fundamental freedoms and single market,” he said, “this is way we remain sceptical and critical when it comes to this part of the Chequers proposal.”

He also noted that the Irish question remains the EU’s priority too, and for this “we need not only good will,” he added.

Tusk said the EU plans to complete the withdrawal agreement in October, and in a move obviously designed to increase pressure on the UK, he declined to designate a special summit in November, insisting that if such a summit were needed it would be held on the weekend of November 17 and 18.

October would be the “moment of truth” for reaching a deal, Tusk said, and “if the conditions are there” an additional summit would be held in November to “formalise” it.

The Britain is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, and both sides are trying to reach a deal in time.

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