EU’s Tusk Slams U.K. Brexit Position as Based on ‘Pure Illusion’

Sony Kapoor Says U.K. Is Showing Increasing Signs of Desperation Over Brexit

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The U.K.’s vision for Brexit is not based on reality, European Union President Donald Tusk said, delivering a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May less than 24 hours after her cabinet agreed the main principles of its plan.

“I’m afraid that the U.K. position today is based on pure illusion,” Tusk told reporters at the end of a summit in Brussels on Friday. “It looks like the cake philosophy is still alive,” he added, referring to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s much-derided claim that Britain could have its cake and eat it.

May and her Brexit “war cabinet” of most important ministers agreed on Thursday to ask the EU to allow the U.K. to keep the bloc’s regulations on a voluntary basis for key industry sectors after Britain leaves and a transition period expires.

But the EU had already hinted this would amount to “cherry picking” the parts of EU membership it liked without any obligations.

“From the very start, it has been a key principle of the EU-27 that there will be no cherry picking and no single-market a la carte,” Tusk said. “This is and will continue to be a key principle, I have no doubt.”

May is due to meet Tusk in London on March 1 before she delivers a speech the following day setting out her government’s position for the future relationship with the EU.

“I’m glad that the U.K. government seems to be moving toward a more detailed position,” Tusk said. At the same time, “I’m absolutely sure that we will be extremely realistic as 27 in our assessment of possible new proposals,” he said.

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