Theresa May says Brexit will demand 'give and take' with EU

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at 2016.10.21
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Theresa May says Brexit will demand 'give and take' with EU

Theresa May has said Brexit will require “some give and take” with the rest of the EU.

Speaking at her first Brussels summit as Prime Minister, she acknowledged there would be “difficult moments” ahead in the negotiations, but said with a “constructive spirit” there could be a “smooth departure”.

The PM, pictured with Jean-Claude Juncker, admits there may be 'difficult moments' ahead Image Caption: The PM, pictured with Jean-Claude Juncker, admits there will be ‘difficult moments’ ahead

However, she hinted at behind the scenes tensions telling reporters she had not been “backwards in coming forwards” during talks.

While the UK was leaving the bloc, Mrs May again reiterated the UK was not leaving Europe.

Her aim was to “cement” Britain as a close partner of the EU, following the departure.

The PM also said the UK remained committed to “trading freely” with its European neighbours.

:: Half of Britons fear Theresa May has no Brexit plan – Sky poll

During the summit, Mrs May had been greeted with silence after being given just five minutes to set out the UK’s position on Brexit to EU leaders at the end of a dinner in the early hours of the morning.

Jean-Claude Juncker not impressed

Video: Tetchy Juncker scoffs at mention of May

The cool reception at the European Council could be a sign of things to come after the PM was told Britain would not be given an easy time in withdrawing from the bloc.

Asked how the talks had gone with Mrs May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker scoffed and gave a dismissive shrug of his shoulders.

French President Francois Hollande has also warned Britain would face “hard” negotiations if it sought a complete break with Brussels, while the European Parliament president Martin Schulz urged European leaders to “stand firm” in talks with the UK.

In a press conference at the end of the two-day summit, Mrs May said she had made clear that the UK “will continue to play a full and active role within the EU” until the process of withdrawal under Article 50.

:: Sky Views: Theresa May needs ‘smooth’ Brexit

She said Britain will be “a confident, outward-looking country, enthusiastic about co-operating with our European friends and allies after we leave”.

Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the EU Council headquarters for a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 20, 2016

Video: 100 days of Prime Minister May

Mrs May added: “The UK will continue to face similar challenges to our European neighbours, we will continue to share the same values, so I want a mature, co-operative relationship with our European partners.

“I recognise the scale of the challenge ahead. I’m sure there will be difficult moments. It will require some give and take.

“But I firmly believe that if we approach this in a constructive spirit – as I am – then we can deliver a smooth departure and build a powerful new relationship that works both for the UK and for the countries of the EU looking for opportunities, not problems.

“That’s in British interests and it’s in the interests of all our European partners too.”

:: Has Britain left the EU yet?

Mrs May also dismissed suggestions the divorce talks would be carried out in French.

Chief negotiator Michel Barnier reportedly wants the negotiations to be held in his own language.

The PM said the departure process would be carried out in the best way to get the “right deal” for the UK.

Downing Street sources also made clear the talks would not be held in French.

The Prime Minister said it was up to the 27 other countries in the EU “how they are going to conduct” their negotiations.

“But we will continue to play our role as I have done today. I can assure you I haven’t been backwards in coming forwards on issues,” she said.

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Published at Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:38:58 +0000

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