Brexit: the british vision of its relationship with the EU is “pure illusion” (Tusk)

The european flag flies over the council of Europe in Brussels on 23 February 2018 (Photo JOHN THYS. AFP)

The british vision of its future relationship with the EU after Brexit is “based on a pure illusion”, has criticized Friday the president of the european Council Donald Tusk.

“I am pleased that the uk government seems to go to a position that is more detailed, however if what the media are reporting is true, I am afraid that the british position is based on a pure illusion,” said Mr Tusk, who chairs the body gathering the leaders of the member States of the EU, at the end of an informal summit of the 27 (without the United Kingdom) to Brussels.

A statement which immediately pushed his colleague and president of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to be ironical: “You have your headlines for tomorrow”, he launched to the journalists.

The ex-Prime minister of luxembourg has launched a dig at David Cameron, former british Prime minister who had to resign after losing the vote on the Brexit that he himself had convened.

“Where is Cameron now ?”, he asked the journalists.

“I’m not the british Prime minister, it would be a good news for Great Britain if I was, but no, I’m not,” is he gone as far as to say.

Thursday evening, the First british minister Theresa May had found his key ministers for a meeting marathon of eight hours, during which it set out its plans for a deal “that works for all components of the United Kingdom (…) and allow the trade as flexible as possible”, according to his spokesman.

London says it wants to leave the single market and the customs union, to put an end to the freedom of movement of migrants and to the jurisdiction of the european Court of Human rights. At the same time, Theresa May wants to negotiate an agreement that would reduce as much as possible the customs duties and the administrative procedures.

A british minister, who, however, was not present at Thursday’s meeting, said that an agreement had been reached on the fact that Britain would seek to align the rules of the EU in certain sectors of the economy, but would retain a right to depart from them.

Donald Tusk has criticised the “return” of a “philosophy” to want to win on all fronts.

“From the very beginning, it is one of the key principles of the EU-27 that there can be selectivity and market unique to the card. This will continue to be a key principle, I have no doubt. (…) We will be extremely realistic in the assessment of our possible new proposals”, has hammered Mr. Tusk.

In these negotiations on the partnership between the two parties after Brexit and the period of transition post-divorce, the EU insists that the fundamental principles remain inseparable, in particular the freedom of movement for goods and services and those of the people.

The general guidelines of the EU-27 on the future relationship with Great Britain, will be announced at a european summit on 22 and 23 march, “that the position of the United Kingdom is ready or not,” said the president of the european Council, arguing that the EU could not “wait and do nothing”.

Ms. May must clarify the formal position of the Uk on Friday 2 march, the day after a meeting with Donald Tusk in London.

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