by 👨💻 Simon Baxendale
Yes – we’re back to Brexit – but with good reason. The UK’s impending exit from the European Union has been grabbing more headlines than a little this week, no less thanks to ongoing disagreement over whether or not Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed deal for leaving the EU, known as the ‘Chequers’ plan, is actually worthwhile undertaking. EU representatives this week rebuffed May with regard to her initial designs on an exit plan, echoing some concerns offered by members of her own party – which, in a somewhat surprise move, led May to take to a podium on Friday to appeal to European representatives head on.
May advised that talks between the UK and the EU had reached what she referred to as an ‘impasse’, and that ‘serious engagement’ would be required from the Union and its representatives if any kind of exit deal was to be eked out. The Prime Minister also grabbed headlines for stating that the UK should be offered more respect during negotiations and that the EU’s direct response to outright reject the Chequers plan without an alternative was ‘not acceptable’.
▶ Watch: 3 key moments from May's defiant Brexit speech
Current issues getting in the way of an agreeable deal include those to do with borders. Both sides actively want to avoid setting up a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland but cannot agree on how to do so. Donald Tusk, speaking on behalf of the EU, has advised that he felt the UK’s current proposals for a Brexit deal offered some positivity, but that they overall needed to be reworked. May, in response to rejection of her proposals in Austria earlier this week, made her surprise speech clearly unimpressed by this latest chain of events.
“Throughout this process, I have treated the EU with nothing but respect,” May advised. “The UK expects the same, a good relationship at the end of this process depends on it.” Tusk and the EU have responded since her speech, with the European Council President stating that May’s ‘tough and in fact uncompromising’ stance on matters was in part to blame for the plans’ rejection. “The response of the EU27 leaders was to reiterate our trust in chief negotiator Michel Barnier and to reiterate our position on the integrity of the single market and the Irish backstop,” Tusk confirmed.
▶ UK's Brexit stance 'surprisingly tough and uncompromising', says Tusk
So – the big question is, of course – what now? Is anyone sure? With a November deadline looming for both sides to decide upon a deal which can be put into law, things are getting tense!