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Reuters: May calls on EU to move with Britain to open Brexit trade talks

Reuters: May calls on EU to move with Britain to open Brexit trade talks

24 November 2017 | 13:19 | FOCUS News Agency
Brussels. British Prime Minister Theresa May repeated her wish on Friday to make a joint move with the European Union to open negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal, Reuters reported.
Speaking to reporters on arrival at a Brussels summit with ex-Soviet states, she said she would talk to EU summit chair Donald Tusk later in the day about “positive negotiations we’re having, looking ahead to the future deep and special partnership that I want with the European Union”.
“What I‘m clear about is that we must step forward together,” she added. “This is for both the UK and for the European Union to move on to the next stage.”
The EU wants May to improve her financial and other offers before opening trade talks. May has said she wants guarantees of trade talks before making a new offer.
May will discuss Brexit plans with European Council President Tusk at 4:30 p.m. (1530 GMT) on Friday, the EU summit chair’s office said, confirming the time of talks.
EU officials are waiting for signs from May that she is ready to strike a deal on finances and other issues to conclude a first phase of talks next month on Britain’s withdrawal in order to secure EU agreement to negotiate a future trade pact.
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Politico: Donald Tusk ‘optimistic’ after Theresa May meeting

Politico: Donald Tusk ‘optimistic’ after Theresa May meeting

17 November 2017 | 21:22 | FOCUS News Agency
Gothenburg. European Council President Donald Tusk pronounced himself “optimistic” that a Brexit breakthrough might be achieved before the December EU leaders’ summit, after meeting U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Politico writes.

“Everything is possible … we still have a chance,” Tusk told a small group of reporters before leaving Gothenburg where he and May spoke on the sidelines of an EU social summit.

“I feel much better, much safer after my meeting with Theresa May,” he said, adding: “I’m still very cautious, but optimistic.”

Officially, Tusk’s position, which his staff posted on Twitter, was that he will only propose new guidelines for the second phase of talks — on a transition period and future trade relationship — once sufficient progress is made on the key divorce issues in phase one.

Tusk was still giving the concluding news conference of the social summit when the tweet was posted.

“We will be ready to move-on to the second phase already in December. But in order to do that we need to see more progress from the U.K. side,” Tusk said at the summit.

“In order to avoid any ambiguities about our work calendar, I made it very clear to Prime Minister May that this progress needs to happen at the beginning of December at the latest,” he said. “If there is no sufficient progress by then, I will not be in a position to propose new guidelines on transition and the future relationship at the December European Council. We agreed to meet again next Friday to assess the situation in more detail.”

In a statement, Downing Street called the meeting “positive.”

“In positive discussions, the two leaders spoke about the progress which had been made so far in the negotiations on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the financial settlement,” the prime minister’s office said. “Prime Minister May and President Tusk agreed that there is more work to be done and discussed how to take further steps forward together in advance of the European Council in December.”

May also met French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadker on the sidelines of the summit.

Pressure has been mounting on May to make some move on the financial settlement that would help convince the European Council to declare “sufficient progress” has been made in the talks.

The EU’s negotiator, Michel Barnier” has said the negotiations reached “deadlock” over the issue and that Brussels needs more clarity about London’s willingness to meet financial obligations related to its departure.

The U.K. in a statement said the talks with Macron focused on the future. “President Macron and the Prime Minister also discussed the strong bilateral relationship which exists between France and the U.K. and looked forward to building upon it further in coming months and years,” May’s office said.
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