- Christian Hartmann/Reuters
- The European Council president has mocked the “English sense of humour” after David Davis said it was the EU’s turn to compromise on Brexit.
- Donald Tusk said “much more progress” was needed in negotiations.
- Brexit Secretary Davis had claimed the EU was not offering enough in talks.
LONDON – The European Council president has mocked David Davis ‘s “English sense of humour” after the Brexit secretary suggested the EU must compromise in order to allow Brexit talks to progress.
Davis, the Brexit secretary, told the BBC that the UK has “been offering some creative compromises and not always got them back.”
When asked whether this was the case, Tusk said: “I can only tell you that I really appreciate Mr Davis’s English sense of humour.”
He added that “much more progress” was needed on the Irish border and the financial settlement before negotiations could move to the next stage.
His comments were backed by the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who said that Brexit talks are not even close to progressing to the next stage.
“I can’t say in any honesty that it’s close – on the Irish issue or on the financial settlement,” he told Sky News.
He added: “I think it would be in all of our interests that we proceed to phase two in December, but its 18 months since the referendum. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like they’ve thought all of this through.”
Speaking after meeting Theresa May on the margins of an EU summit in Gothenburg, Tusk said the he was “ready” to move onto trade talks in December if the UK made concessions and commitments on the financial settlement and the Irish border.
“But in order to do that we need to see more progress on the UK side. While good progress on citizens’ rights is being made we need to see much more progress on Ireland and on the financial settlement.
“In order to avoid any ambiguities about our calendar I made it very clear to Prime Minister May that this progress needs to happen at the beginning of December at the latest. If there is no sufficient progress by then I will not be in a position to propose new guidelines at a future relationship at the December European Council.”
In December the heads of state of the EU27 countries will meet at the European Council to discuss whether “sufficient progress” has been made in negotiations on the Irish border, the financial settlement and citizens’ rights.
On Thursday night Davis warned members of the EU not to put “politics before prosperity” in negotiations as Britain at an economic conference in Berlin.
The prime minister told reporters after the meeting that both sides had to “work together” in order to reach sufficient progress in the first round of negotiations.