EU warns Britain it must ‘rework’ Brexit plans


SALZBURG, September 19: EU Council President Donald Tusk issued a stark warning to Britain on Wednesday that its Brexit position must be “reworked”, as Prime Minister Theresa May prepared to address European leaders at a key summit.
Tusk said the negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union were reaching a “decisive phase”, as he opened the first of three summits that Brussels hopes will end in a divorce deal.
But while he had some encouragement for the “positive evolution” of Britain’s approach, he warned the two sides were still stuck on two key areas — the Irish border and the future economic relationship.
“On other issues such as the Irish question, or the framework for economic cooperation, the UK’s proposals will need to be reworked and further negotiated,” Tusk said.
May will get a chance to address EU leaders at a dinner later Wednesday at the informal summit in the Austrian city of Salzburg, before a full day of talks on Thursday dominated by Brexit and the migration crisis.
Before setting off, her Downing Street office suggested that after she put forward new Brexit proposals this summer, it was now for Brussels to “evolve” its position.
Officials on both sides of the Channel hope Salzburg will give new impetus to divorce negotiations ahead of a crunch summit in Brussels on October 18.
That was originally viewed as the deadline, but Tusk confirmed on Wednesday he will seek approval from EU leaders for a last-gasp Brexit gathering in mid-November.
But first the issue of the border must be settled, with both camps coming up against their “red lines”.
If it is not resolved, the chances of Britain stumbling into a chaotic and damaging break-up with its neighbours and main trading partners next March will soar.
Salzburg’s host, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, said it was important for the 27 non-British members to stick together.
In an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard, he warned that finding a solution before November “would be anything but easy”. (AFP)