UK’s May calls for respect from EU as pond plummets
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has demanded respect from the European Union amid the dramatic fall of pound and fears that it made a no deal outcome more likely.
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In a statement at Downing Street Friday, May hit out at the way European Council president Donald Tusk discarded her Brexit plans without offering a detailed explanation or alternatives.
At a summit of EU leaders in Salzburg, Austria, Tusk unexpectedly declared that May’s proposals for Brexit “would not work.” He later mocked May's negotiating strategy on social media.
“I have treated the EU with nothing but respect.
The UK expects the same. A good relationship at the end of this process depends on it,” May said in a hastily arranged televised statement.
“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 proposal,” she added.
She said that “we cannot make progress” unless the EU clarifies what “the real issues are and what their alternative is.”
Her remarks spooked the currency markets and caused sterling to fall 1.5% against the dollar, its biggest one day drop so far this year.
Prior to the meeting, May had hoped that she could gain a general approval of EU leaders for her Brexit strategy when they gather in Salzburg.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, however, that the EU expected Britain to compromise to respond in kind to Brussels’ concessions.
The EU and Britain seem to be locked in a dispute on how to avoid a hard border between EU member Ireland and the UK province of Northern Ireland.
London is adamant that it could not allow the EU to move its customs frontier to the Irish Sea and separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
The disagreement on Chequers comes as Brussels is quite aware that piling more pressure on May would weaken her position in the face of critics at home who prefer seeing Britain crash out of the EU without a deal.