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UK's May gives stern speech defending Brexit position, urging respect from EU

22 September 2018 10:39 230

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - The United Kingdom's prime minister has on Friday urged the European Union to show more respect in the Brexit negotiations and offer proposals geared towards ending the current impasse in discussions, all the while sticking steadfastly to her own plan on the country's withdrawal despite its poor reception at a recent informal summit, EFE reports.

Theresa May gave a sternly-delivered speech reaffirming her position on Brexit just a day after she attended an EU meeting in Salzburg where a host of European leaders, not least the European Council president, Donald Tusk, said the British PM's so-called Chequers plan would not work.

"Throughout this process, I have treated the EU with nothing but respect. The UK expects the same," the conservative leader said in a televised statement from Downing Street.

"A good relationship at the end of this process depends on it. At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side's proposals without a detailed explanation and counter-proposals," she continued.

The EU highlighted two areas of May's plan that would need renegotiating: the proposed post-Brexit economic relationship and the Irish border.

Both are linked, given that the future financial relationship secured by London and Brussels once the UK has left the EU's single market will dictate how the currently soft border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is maintained - something that both sides of the negotiation table have said is essential.

But neither May nor the EU has been satisfied with each other's proposals thus far.

The bloc's proposal to maintain Northern Ireland in regulatory alignment with the south was rejected by the UK government as it would mean a tariff border in the Irish Sea.

"The EU is proposing to achieve this by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the Customs Union," May said. "As I have already said, that is unacceptable. We will never agree to it. It would mean breaking up our country. We will set out our alternative that preserves the integrity of the UK," she continued.

The Irish border remains one of the major sticking points in the Brexit process.

The EU has said that one way to circumnavigate this issue would be for the entire UK to remain in a form of customs union, but May trashed this suggestion too, saying it would keep London bound to the bloc's legislation, would prevent the UK from striking trade deals around the world, and would not reduce migrant numbers.

Putting the onus back on Brussels, May urged EU negotiators to come up with their own solutions to the logjam and once again said that no deal was better than a bad deal.

"No one wants a good deal more than me. But the EU should be clear: I will not overturn the result of the referendum. Nor will I break up my country. We need serious engagement on resolving the two big problems in the negotiations," May said. "We stand ready," she concluded.

The UK and the EU hope to have a deal on Brexit before the European Council in Oct., although have said an extraordinary summit could be called in Nov. if time was insufficient.

Brexit is to formally take place in Mar. 2019, with or without a deal.


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