PM May Seeks More EU Compromise 09/19 06:24
LONDON (AP) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May urged EU leaders to
compromise and back her Brexit blueprint Wednesday, ahead of a key meeting of
the bloc's leaders in Salzburg, Austria.
Writing in German newspaper Die Welt, May said Britain "has evolved its
position" and argued that "the EU will need to do the same."
With six months to go until Britain leaves the EU in March, major
differences remain between the two sides. But May said a divorce deal is within
grasp if both sides show "good will and determination."
May argues that the U.K. and the EU face a choice between her proposal ---
which would keep Britain aligned to the EU rulebook in return for seamless
trade in goods --- and an economically disruptive Brexit in which Britain
crashes out of the bloc without a deal.
But the EU has reservations about the plan, and the two sides remain divided
over how to ensure there is no hard border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland
and EU member Ireland.
The British government says the EU's fallback plan would effectively keep
Northern Ireland in a customs union with the EU after the rest of the U.K.
leaves -- creating a border down the Irish Sea.
"Neither side can demand the unacceptable of the other, such as an external
customs border between different parts of the United Kingdom," May wrote in Die
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said Tuesday that the EU is ready to
adapt its proposal on the Irish border in order to "de-dramatize" the issue.
He said the EU is not proposing "a border, neither on land or at sea.
"No. It is a set of technical controls and checks, a lot of which, most, can
be put in place and carried out in places other than physically in Northern
Ireland," Barnier said.
Pro-Brexit members of May's Conservative Party also oppose her deal, saying
it would keep Britain tethered to the bloc, with no say over its rules and
unable to strike new trade deals around the world.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis --- who quit the government in July over
opposition to May's plan --- predicted Wednesday that the EU would press
Britain to make more concessions.
"All these things will come back and we'll see more and more pressure, and
(May) will have a deal she won't be able to bring back to the House of Commons
because it'll be lumbered with loads of other EU demands, so she's going to
have to have something else," Davis told the BBC.