Donald Tusk to meet Taoiseach for Brexit talks

Posted March 10, 2018

The British Ports Association (BPA) has written to the EU to warn that a free trade agreement on goods could still lead to major disruption and European ports.

Mr Tusk also said that while the European Union respects the result of the Brexit referendum, the same should be said for the British in respecting the Irish vote for the Good Friday Agreement.

The documents released today are said to be deliberately vague to try and force Theresa May to reveal more of what she wants from leaving the EU.

Speaking in Dublin, European Council President Donald Tusk said it's difficult to imagine any substantial progress - if a proposal isn't put forward to avoid a hard border. It should preserve the EU's autonomy of decision and legal order, including the role of the ECJ.

However, he also said there could be "no winners" on Brexit, and that any agreement would be the first one to "loosen economic ties instead of strengthening them".

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Mr Le Maire also stated, on Twitter, that there would be "no financial passport" for the United Kingdom after Brexit, adding: "This means that, in the future, cross-border financial services can not be offered into the EU27 in the same way as today from the UK".

"We don't want to build a wall between the European Union and Britain", he said this lunchtime, promising an agreement like Canada has with the bloc.

One Brexit campaigner welcomed the speech and praised May, who has been under pressure from two warring factions in her Conservative Party.

"We must hope that they will be as positive and pragmatic as Theresa May". The red lines that London has drawn hardly allow Brussels to offer a free trade agreement, with a chapter of cooperation in justice, defence, security and aviation.

And on services - vital to the Britain's crucial financial sector - Tusk simply indicated the deal should "address" the issue.

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The EU's tough stance is partly inspired by fears that if Britain gets a bespoke deal it could inspire the 27 remaining member states to leave the EU and demand special treatment themselves.

The key issue is the "divergence" between Britain and European Union on key market standards and controls, the guidelines say, adding: "This unfortunately will have negative economic consequences". President Trump has recently said, and I quote: "trade wars are good, and easy to win".

'Not only that it is possible to include financial services within a trade deal but that it is very much in our mutual interest to do so'.

"Yes, there will be ups and downs in the months ahead..."

"The idea of punishing Britain is not the language of a club, it's the language of a gang", he said at the annual conference of the British Chambers of Commerce.

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Brexit negotiations have reached a critical stage, yet essential issues over citizens' rights remain unresolved and solutions maintaining an invisible border on the island of Ireland are not forthcoming.