BRUSSELS – European leaders cut themselves off in less than a minute on Friday to send a warning to British Prime Minister Theresa May that she risked a disorderly and disruptive exit from the bloc, unless she was broke months of political stalemate in London and makes "realistic" proposals.
With Britain planning to end more than four decades of European integration in March, key issues remain unanswered. Ms. May's split Cabinet restricts her bargaining power, and in some capitals the idea dawns that Britain might accidentally leave the block without making a deal, which most experts consider a complete disaster.
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, said it was "the last call to put the cards on the table". Michel Barnier, chief negotiator for the European Union, said: "There are big and serious disagreements," she warned, saying that time was tight and called on Ms. May to present "workable and realistic proposals" for the future.
That was a reference to the ne xt, crucial step in Brexit: Mrs. May's planned next week's attempt to gain support from her bitterly-divided Cabinet for a long-awaited white paper on future relationships with the bloc.
Meanwhile, the 27 nations have increased the pressure on them, urging member countries to make preparations for "all results" – code for no Brexit agreement – and noting that there is "no substantial progress" in terms had given backstop plans to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and Ireland, which will remain in the European Union.
Mrs. May, which had to leave at the time the 27 leaders discussed Brexit, needs an agreement on Ireland to avoid a disorderly exit – the "abyss" and sudden changes in trade rules that many companies fear become. Www.socialistgroup.eu/gpes/newsdeta…ome&site=msc She tried to turn the tables on the European Union and argued that the application of the strict rules for the treatment of nonmembers would be the only way forward. Englisch: www.socialistgroup.org/gpes/session…08&place=STR Great Britain's ability to divide information about potential terrorists and other criminals could jeopardize the safety of Europeans Equal argument for different treatment of a number of issues, but on security Britain has much to offer the other 27 nations. Her plea for more flexibility seemed to be directed at national leaders and at the heads of European negotiators.
But everyone admits that the next step must come from London. Although Mrs. May, like a crab, is heading for a Brexit that maintains close economic ties to the bloc, deep divisions within her cabinet have paralyzed London's decision-making and have stalled much of the negotiations.
Large multinational corporations have recently stepped up pressure on Ms. May, saying they need more security, with companies like Airbus and BMW sounding the alarm. With business executives hesitant to make public statements on Brexit for fear of angering the government and pro-Brexit voters, the warnings seem to reflect growing fears of a chaotic exit.
May's party is split between pragmatists who want to have many economic ties to Europe – Britain's largest trading partner – and pro-Brexit purists who prefer a clean break, so Mrs. May negotiated for months between rival factions at home [OnFridayshe'splanningameetinginCheckershercountryretreatreferredtoasanartshowdownasmanypreviousBrexitmeetingshavebeenpresentedjusttodisappointthosehopingforclarity
Mrs. May has invited the entire cabinet to take a step one step lower in hopes that this would undermine the political equilibrium of hard-liners, such as their foreign minister Boris Johnson, who, despite his well-known ambition to follow Ms. May, has resigned Destabilize leadership.
Analysts believe Ms. May's upcoming Brexit plans could bind Britain to European rules and technical standards for most goods, while giving UK financial services companies less access to the continental European market. Economically, this could be a bad business for the UK, which relies heavily on services, but it could allow large multinational companies to maintain existing supply chains that are vital to manufacturers such as automakers.
Could also allow Britain to negotiate trade agreements for the financial sector in other parts of the world – partially meeting the demands of Brexit supporters.
Britain hopes the European Union will make a big concession by easing the rules on the free movement of workers, even though the leaders of the bloc have dismissed the idea as delusional. However, some analysts believe that an agreement could be made economically advantageous enough for continental Europeans to make it politically feasible, especially as Britain would no longer have a say in shaping many of the rules that it would choose to follow
. Mays main task is to get the approval for a draft for the future, which could allow such a thing – without causing a political crisis in the homeland. But if the document is too vague, it risks falling flat in Brussels.
In London, the power struggle is under way, as the factions feel the beginning of an endgame. On Thursday, Ms. May's former chief advisor Nick Timothy warned her that she was on course to deliver the "worst" Brexit and urged her to "get tougher."
Mr. Timothy is an ardent advocate of Brexit and, as chief adviser to the Prime Minister, was one of the main architects of her negotiating strategy. He was thrown overboard after her catastrophic election campaign last year
She tried to reassure the economy that she had negotiated a transitional deadline to start in March next year, while the UK would by the end of the year But it also depends on a broader agreement that includes a backstop plan to prevent the imposition of a hard border in Ireland.
May's suggestions to the Brexit advocates have proved difficult, as they see a trap in which the temporary measures gradually gain their permanence. This has led to a stalemate, as with so many other topics.