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Theresa May’s Brexit plan opens rift among EU leaders (The Times, by Oliver Wright, Policy Editor and Bruno Waterfield, Salzburg)

Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian chancellor, gave Theresa May a warm welcome to Salzburg SEAN GALLUP/GETTY

September 20, 2018

European leaders were divided last night before a critical meeting that will determine the future of Theresa May’s Brexit plans.

Some EU countries are pressing for the leaders to engage with British proposals, which they see as a “positive” step towards reaching a deal.

This group, which is led by the Netherlands and Belgium and backed by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, is being challenged by the European Commission and the leaders of France and Germany, who are said to be unwilling to make the concessions demanded by the British.

EU leaders are due to meet without Mrs May this afternoon to discuss their response to her Chequers proposal. Britain is hoping that they will agree to a redrafting of the EU’s negotiating mandate before what is being seen as a make-or-break summit in November. Widening the mandate of the negotiations would allow the EU to soften its position on customs and partial membership of the single market and move closer to Mrs May’s plans.

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