Donald Tusk and Emmanuel Macron, along with other EU leaders, rejected Theresa May’s ‘Chequers’ Brexit plan at an EU summit in Salzburg last week. The dismissal was quick, with Tusk simply declaring that Chequers “would not work.” This puts Britain back at square one in negotiations, and creates a serious risk of a ‘no agreement’ Brexit, something that economists say would devastate the global economy.
The Chequers plan would have maintained British access to the EU’s single market system, avoided a visible border on the island of Ireland, and created a “mobility framework” to allow UK and EU citizens to travel freely. In short, it would have given Britain many of the benefits of EU membership without any of the responsibilities.
The problem? Theresa May can’t have it both ways.
May doesn’t have the upper hand in these negotiations; the British economy needs the EU a lot more than the EU needs Britain, especially with Britain having recently dropped from the forth to the fifth largest economy in the world.
It’s time for May’s administration to either make a realistic Brexit plan in which they accept the consequences of leaving the EU, or rescind article 50 and retain its status as an EU member country. Analysts say it’s unclear if the latter is even an option now that article 50 has already been invoked.
If they don’t take action now, they’ll be left with the worst possible outcome: complete isolation from EU member countries.