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EU’s Tusk to warn May ‘more work’ needed for Brexit deal


The President of the European Council Donald Tusk speaks during a press conference on March 31, 2017 in St Julian’s Malta. The European Union demanded that Britain make “sufficient progress” on its divorce before talks on a trade deal can start as it laid out its tough Brexit negotiating plans today. / AFP PHOTO / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT

EU President Donald Tusk will warn British Prime Minister Theresa May at a summit in Sweden on Friday that “more work” is needed to reach a Brexit deal in December, sources said.

As EU leaders gathered in the Swedish port city of Gothenburg for a meeting on fair jobs and growth, Tusk’s spokesman Preben Aamann said on Twitter that Tusk “meets Theresa May in Gothenburg tomorrow to discuss Brexit”.

The meeting at 1130 GMT was scheduled at the last minute as a deadline looms for Britain to make sufficient progress on key divorce issues, including its exit bill, if it wants to move on to post-Brexit trade talks in December as hoped.


“Tusk will inform May that such a positive scenario is not a given, will require more work and that time is short,” an EU source told AFP.

“And he will ask May how the UK plans to progress on the three key issues for phase 1.”

But Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, will say that progress on the divorce “will allow for a positive outcome” at the EU’s next Brussels summit on December 14 to move to the second phase, the sources said.

He will discuss with May the internal preparations the bloc is making for negotiations on future relations, including a possible trade deal and a transition period, the source added.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned last week that Britain had two weeks to meet the bloc’s conditions if it wanted a deal at the December meeting.

Failure to do so would push back a decision until February or March, leaving little time for trade talks before Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

The EU demands that Britain makes sufficient progress on a financial settlement, on avoiding a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the EU state of Ireland, and on the rights of three million EU citizens living in Britain.

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