Brexit plans in disarray after May's disappointment in Salzburg

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Hopes of a Brexit deal were dashed in Salzburg, prompting Theresa May to ask Brussels what they want.

Fears have once again been raised that a no-deal Brexit may be on the cards after European Union (EU) leaders rejected Theresa May's so-called Chequers plan.

A meeting was held in Salzburg late last week in a bid to discuss a range of EU issues, with Brexit one of the key items on the agenda.

Mrs May hoped to appeal to other EU leaders to support the suggestions thrashed out at Chequers, which included the UK following a common EU rulebook for trade and also resolving the problem of a hard border in Northern Ireland.

However, in a disappointing development for Mrs May, EU Council President Donald Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed that the proposed framework put forward by the UK "will not work".

"The proposals in their current state are not acceptable, especially on the economic side of it," a statement from Tusk added.

Rejection in Salzburg sent shockwaves through the EU's business community and once again raised the possibility that Britain may leave the bloc with no deal.

A statement from Mrs May in London after the summit insisted that Britain will continue to work towards a viable deal with Europe ahead of the Brexit deadline next March.

However, the statement added: "At the same time, the government will continue to sensibly plan for no deal."

Yesterday (September 24th), the prime minister went on to demand new proposals from Europe to replace those rejected in Salzburg, warning EU leaders that the UK expects the respect it has shown the rest of the bloc.

"At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side's proposals without a detailed explanation and new proposals. So we now need to hear from the European Union what the real issues are and what their proposals are so we can discuss them," she added.

At the same time, ministers report being told by Mrs May to hold their nerve against opposition from other EU leaders as she insisted that her plan is the only viable one on the table.

Meanwhile, in the face of such uncertainty, export orders in Britain dropped to their lowest level in almost a year, according to the Confederation of British Industry's industrial trends survey.

Spokesperson Anna Leach said Brexit was continuing to cloud the outlook and that some firms are moving publicly from "contingency planning to action".