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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: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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