EU lead­ers or­der May to lay cards on the ta­ble

Western Mail - - NEWS - DAVID HUGHES Press As­so­ci­a­tion news­desk@waleson­

THERESA May has been told by Europe’s lead­ers it is the “last call” for her to set out her Brexit plans if she hopes to achieve a deal with the EU on the UK’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship in Oc­to­ber.

Europe’s lead­ers de­manded clar­ity from Mrs May as their im­pa­tience over the Prime Min­is­ter’s di­vided Cab­i­net be­came clear.

The lead­ers of the re­main­ing 27 Euro­pean Union na­tions is­sued a joint call for “re­al­is­tic and work­able” pro­pos­als from the Prime Min­is­ter.

At the close of a sum­mit in Brus­sels, Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk said there was a “great deal of work ahead” on Brexit and the “most dif­fi­cult tasks are still un­re­solved”.

He said “quick progress” was needed in or­der to reach a deal at the Oc­to­ber sum­mit and “this is the last call to lay the cards on the ta­ble”.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron said the re­main­ing 27 EU mem­ber states “can no longer wait” for progress on Brexit.

Bel­gian Prime Min­is­ter Charles Michel pointed to Mrs May’s do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, say­ing the British gave the im­pres­sion of ne­go­ti­at­ing with each other, rather than the EU.

Brus­sels’ chief Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier also warned that time was short and sug­gested an ex­tra round of ne­go­ti­a­tions on Mon­day to help rein­vig­o­rate the talks.

Mr Barnier said “huge and se­ri­ous di­ver­gence” re­mained over is­sues re­lat­ing to Ire­land and North­ern Ire­land.

The Prime Min­is­ter said she hoped a new phase in the Brexit talks would be pos­si­ble af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of the govern­ment’s White Pa­per calling for ne­go­ti­a­tions to speed up and in­ten­sify once the doc­u­ment is pub­lished.

De­tails of the White Pa­per set­ting out the UK’s plans for is­sues in­clud­ing trade and cus­toms are ex­pected to be thrashed out by Cab­i­net min­is­ters at next Fri­day’s Che­quers away-day.

Mrs May’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Euro­pean Coun­cil sum­mit ended in the early hours of yes­ter­day af­ter a marathon ses­sion on pro­pos­als to ad­dress the mi­grant cri­sis.

Leav­ing the sum­mit in Brus­sels, she said: “We are go­ing to be pub­lish­ing our White Pa­per shortly and I want to see the ne­go­ti­a­tions ac­cel­er­at­ing and in­ten­si­fy­ing there­after.”

Asked whether the White Pa­per would pro­vide “re­al­is­tic and work­able” pro­pos­als, a Down­ing Street spokes­woman said: “Yes.”

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