After Salzburg: How to salvage the Brexit negotiations



Sam Lowe and John Springford | Centre for European Reform

Although EU leaders delivered the coup de grace to Theresa May’s Chequers plan in Salzburg avoiding no deal is still possible, but it will require some tough choices on the Irish backstop.  Theresa May’s Chequers plan, which lost her two leading Brexiter members of her Cabinet, is dead. At the European Council summit in Salzburg on September 20th, the EU’s heads of state and government said no to her proposal for a dual-tariff customs arrangement and participation in the single market for goods (but not services, and without the free movement of people). Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, had already said that the plan violated the EU’s principle that there should be no partial membership of the single market. He had also said that the EU would not accept the customs proposals, which would allow the UK to maintain frictionless trade with the EU, while still being able to sign free trade agreements with countries outside Europe. The risk of no deal has risen. Is there any way to salvage the Brexit negotiations?

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