Tensions rise as European Union prepares for final Brexit stretch

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Theresa May speaks with Estonia's Prime Minister Juri Ratas during a family photo at the informal European Union summit in Salzburg.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday the Brexit plan proposed by British Prime Minister's Theresa May was unacceptable in its current form and that he expected new proposals from Britain in October.

Tusk said he was confident a deal would be done, and several commentators speculated the European Union may have been deliberately critical in order to force a crisis that would help bring negotiations to a close.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar complained that May had not presented any fresh proposals for the Irish border, despite promising them.

'We are ready to improve this proposal.

- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his country is better prepared for a no-deal Brexit than Britain and an agreement is "not easy" because of Mrs May's red lines.

"That deal of course would involve three elements, so withdrawal agreements providing for the United Kingdom to leave with a transition period, a protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland making sure that under all circumstances there won't be a hard border on the island of Ireland, and also a joint political declaration outlining what that new relationship is going to look like".

However, May has today told European Union leaders that "the only proposal on the table is my proposal", and that "there will be no second Brexit referendum".

For Ireland, it's important not to undermine the hard-won peace after decades of sectarian tensions in neighboring Northern Ireland.

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The Alpine summit began with a warning from EU Council President Donald Tusk that Britain's offer on post-Brexit trade ties and Ireland - the two sticking points in the talks - must be "reworked".

On Thursday morning, Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat claimed there is an "almost unanimous" backing among leaders for Britain to have a second referendum.

As EU leaders lined up to demand more compromises from the UK, May tried to pile the pressure back on Brussels.

Tusk said of the Chequers proposals that "the suggested framework for co-operation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market".

May however said her Brexit plan is the "only serious and credible" proposal on the table that can guarantee the frictionless movement of goods across borders, and ensure there is no return to a hard frontier between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The French said May's proposals "are not acceptable as they stand, particularly in the economic realm" because they "don't respect the integrity of the single market".

Pro-Brexit members of May's Conservative Party also oppose her deal, saying it would keep Britain tethered to the bloc, with no say over its rules and unable to strike new trade deals around the world. The doom merchants in her party will now have free rein and pronounce Chequers dead - courtesy this time of the EU.

However, at the gathering in Austria, Mrs May insisted there would be no delay to the UK's March 2019 departure, no second referendum and therefore the onus was on the continent's leaders to find a solution if they wanted to avoid a no-deal Brexit. The most crucial of these being on the Brexit Bill - also know as the EU Withdrawal Bill.

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