Door remains open for United Kingdom to stay in European Union, says Donald Tusk

Posted June 23, 2017

BRUSSELS (AP) - While European Union chief Donald Tusk may still be "a dreamer" hoping that Britain is having second thoughts on leaving the EU, other leaders at Thursday's EU summit tried to shake him back to reality.

Below please find comments by the leaders arriving for talks on Thursday.

They also come three months after Prime Minister Theresa May locked Britain into a two-year countdown to Brexit in March 2019.

While this week's opening round of Brexit negotiations was considered by the two sides to be generally constructive, diplomats said May's plan for expats may lay bare the divisions between them.

She says that she will set out how she will protect the rights of European Union citizens in Britain while looking for similar protection for Britons living elsewhere in the bloc.

But in Britain many media portrayed Davis, a veteran Brexit campaigner, as having climbed down from his insistence that the European Union must immediately open talks on a future free trade agreement rather than limit negotiations, as they are now, to basic issues of the divorce, such as the rights of expatriate citizens. "That work is starting".

"We will conduct these talks in a good spirit", she added.

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"It was clear from the opening that both of us want to achieve the best possible outcome and the strongest possible partnership - one that works for the United Kingdom and the EU. They will be pursued in a normal way".

"In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues".

She should also listen to young people, who had shown in the last general election that they wanted good jobs, he said.

"It's a pity that this decision was made but we can not turn and look only backwards. We will need to know these differences very soon so we can start the negotiations".

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has assured Britons he expects to compromise at times over the coming months as London and Brussels try to settle terms for British withdrawal from the European Union. For us the cutoff date is not so important.

He pushed at the summit for joint European defense, a joint budget for countries that use the euro and a tougher stance against the USA and China on trade.

"She (Theresa May) is not stronger but it was a choice to organise elections and now they have internal fights".

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But we'll also need the support of the whole Parliament if British farming is to have a profitable future in a post-Brexit world. Their eldest son Prince Charles , the heir to the throne, accompanied Queen Elizabeth to the Houses of Parliament in his place.

"The UK decision is something we have to respect, we regret it, the door is still open. They believed the promises of the popular press that Brexit would not reduce their living standards, so they managed to maintain those standards by running up their household debts", explained the billionaire.

"I am not a dreamer". What was so "easy" and without consequences is not the story.

"It's time for action and certainty". "President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, which has over 100,000 citizens in Britain, insisted relations would remain close and tweeted the Motown lyric: "#Brexit: ain't no mountain high enough".

But Mr Tusk, who grew up in Poland under communism, said: "I think you can feel this difference between illusions and dreams".

In his words, after talks are held on citizens' rights, the single financial settlement, and the question of the borders (in particular in Ireland), the European Council, which consists of the leaders of all EU member states, is to decide on whether sufficient progress has been achieved.

"The current developments on the continent seem to indicate that we are slowly turning the corner".

May has faced pressure, including from several senior party figures, to water down her plans to make a clean break with the European Union after she failed to win a clear majority at a snap election earlier this month.

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He wouldn't be drawn on whether he supported Britain's continued membership of the single market or the customs union. Opponents describe that as a "hard Brexit".