Wednesday

18th Sep 2019

May rules out new Brexit vote as final talks speed up

  • Theresa May making a statement on Brexit earlier in the week. (Photo: Number 10 - Flickr)

British prime minister Theresa May on Wednesday (3 October) in her speech to the Conservative Party conference ruled out once again Northern Ireland remaining in the EU's customs union to secure a Brexit deal, as a final push in negotiations is planned in the coming days.

May has also ruled out a second Brexit vote saying it would be undemocratic. "A second referendum would be a politicians' vote. Think of what it would do to democracy. Politicians telling people they got it wrong and to vote again," she said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

May also said that she will never agree to "carving out" Northern Ireland from the UK, to keep it in the EU's customs union after Brexit next March 2019 in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland between the EU and UK.

The premier also dismissed the idea of remaining in the bloc's customs union, and said freedom of movement will end "once and for all" after Brexit.

May said she cannot rule out a no-deal scenario, as a divorce deal needs to be agreed in around two weeks in order that there is enough time for ratification in the UK and European Parliament.

"Leaving without the deal would be a bad outcome for the UK and the EU," she warned, however, claiming, "it would be tough at first, but the resilience and ingenuity of British people would see us through".

As May gave her speech to end a fractious annual conference of her Conservative party - where hard Brexit rebels have challenged her efforts to stay close to the EU - officials and diplomats in Brussels and London gear up for a final push in negotiations.

Talks have been essentially at a deadlock since March with only six months remaining until the UK leaves the EU.

One key issue is the how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and if the UK can come to an agreement over the EU's backstop guarantee plan that would kick in after Brexit.

The UK is expected to bring new proposals on the details of how checks can be made on goods while at the same time maintaining a frictionless border.

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar will meet on Thursday with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, and Barnier will meet with leaders of Northern Irish parties on Friday, according to Barnier's schedule.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is also expected in Brussels next week.

The EU will also finalise its position on the trade relationship after Brexit, after EU leaders made it clear to May in Salzburg in September that her plan will not work.

Despite UK expectations for a detailed proposal, the EU is likely to keep the legally non-binding document short and leave the bulk of details to be worked out during the next phase of negotiations with London after the UK leaves the bloc.

On 10 October EU ambassadors will review the progress and discuss the future relations in preparations for the 18 October summit.

An extraordinary summit is possible in November if the outline of a divorce deal is agreed in October.

'Dealbreaker' issues multiply in Brexit talks

As chief negotiators Raab and Barnier meet again in Brussels on Friday, UK demands for guarantees on the future relationship have put chances of no-deal Brexit over 50 percent.

New UK proposal on Irish border in final Brexit push

The UK could stay in the EU's customs union indefinitely to avoid crashing out of the EU as hopes for a new UK proposal on the Irish border issue grow in Brussels in the final phase of Brexit talks.

Analysis

A post-Brexit rival to Galileo? Possible, but expensive

The United Kingdom and the EU need to figure out how much access the UK will have to the EU-funded satellite navigation system after Brexit. Now the UK will study whether to set up its own system.

Opinion

How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament

British plans to - maybe - take part in EU elections risk legal chaos in the next European Parliament, which could be resolved only by treaty change - an unlikely prospect.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  2. These are the crunch issues for 2019-2024 EU commission
  3. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  4. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing
  5. Trumpworld In Europe
  6. How EU firms and banks help fund Amazon fires
  7. Amazon fires mean EP must rethink Mercosur trade deal
  8. EU must give full support to Ukraine to dissuade Kremlin

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us