EU chief Donald Tusk slams UK Brexit plans as 'pure illusion'

Posted On: 
24th February 2018

European Council president Donald Tusk has said that the UK’s approach to Brexit negotiations appears to be based on “pure illusion”.

Donald Tusk speaks after a summit of the 27 EU leaders yesterday
PA Images

Speaking at a news conference after an informal meeting of the EU 27 governments in Brussels yesterday, he said media reports of the Cabinet’s Brexit talks at Chequers on Thursday suggested the "cake philosophy is still alive" among the British government.

Members of Theresa May's Brexit 'war Cabinet' had met for eight hours of tense discussions, after which senior sources claimed "divergence has won" – implying a victory for the pro-Brexit MPs.

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Mr Tusk reiterated his position: that the UK will not be able to “cherry pick” aspects of its post-Brexit relationship with the European Union.

"From the very start it has been a key principle of the EU27 that there can be no cherry-picking and no single market à la carte.

"This will continue to be a key principle, I have no doubt."

He said: "If the media reports are correct I am afraid that the UK position today is based on pure illusion."

The EU’s draft guidelines on the future relationship would be published in March, he revealed, adding: "Our intention is to adopt these guidelines, whether the UK is ready with its vision of our future relations, or not. Naturally it would be much better if it were. But we cannot stand by and wait."

UK sources told Sky News that Mr Tusk should wait until the government had set out its position before passing judgement.