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European Council leader says UK's Brexit position based on 'pure illusion'

The United Kingdom's position on Brexit is based on "pure illusion," European Council President Donald Tusk told repo...

Posted: Feb 25, 2018 4:34 AM
Updated: Feb 25, 2018 4:34 AM

The United Kingdom's position on Brexit is based on "pure illusion," European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters in Brussels after a meeting of EU leaders.

His comments Friday came a day after UK Prime Minister Theresa May and senior Cabinet ministers spent hours at her official country retreat hammering out London's position in future Brexit negotiations in the face of deep divisions within her Conservative Party.

May is expected to set out her vision for Britain's future trading relationship with the European Union in a speech next Friday. But Tusk's remarks raise questions over how well it will go down in Brussels.

"I'm afraid that the UK position today is based on pure illusion. It looks like the 'cake philosophy' is still alive," Tusk said. "From the very start, there has been a key principle of the EU 27 members that there can be no cherry-picking and no single market - la carte."

Tusk has previously accused May of holding a philosophy of "having her cake and eating it" over Brexit by trying to keep the benefits of EU membership without having to follow its rules.

Tusk said he had informed EU leaders that he would present draft guidelines in the future EU-UK relationship at a European Council summit next month.

"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. I hope to have some more clarity about the UK plans next week, when I meet Prime Minister May in London."

Tusk's meeting with May is scheduled to take place Thursday, a day before she gives her speech on trade.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will give a speech Monday in which he could pave the way for a government defeat over Brexit, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported, by backing a move by rebel Conservatives to keep Britain in a customs union with the European Union.

May gathered key members of her fractious Cabinet this week for an "away day" at her country retreat, Chequers, in a bid to galvanize support within her divided party for a common position on Brexit.

She needs to establish Britain's terms for the transition period that will follow its departure from the EU in March 2019. However, that process has been fraught with difficulty in the past few months.

UK media reports indicate that Cabinet ministers agreed Thursday on an approach of "managed divergence" by which Britain would take control of its own regulations but maintain the standards required by the EU in certain key areas to protect trade and jobs.

"The Brexit committee made a step forward yesterday by agreeing (to) the basics of the future relationship," a Downing Street representative told CNN.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond tweeted Friday that the Chequers meeting had been "positive and constructive" and that "steady progress" was being made toward delivering Brexit.

Speaking Tuesday in Vienna, Austria, David Davis, secretary of state for exiting the EU, described what Britain aspired to as "a race to the top in global standards," which meant that British regulators and institutions could continue to be recognized by the EU.

"We start from a position of total alignment, with unprecedented experience in working with one another's regulators and institutions," Davis said.

"The agreement we strike will not be about how to build convergence, but what we do when one of us chooses to make changes to our rules. Neither side should put up unnecessary barriers during this process."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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