The Prime Minister has been handed a Brexit deadline to get her deal in order or face a trade talk stalemate.
European Council president Donald Tusk said Theresa May faces a ‘huge challenge’ but must make significant progress on the divorce bill and the Irish border issues if she wants to start trade talks.
May is pinning her hopes on a crunch summit in Brussels next month where she will make a financial offer in a bid to move the Brexit process forward. With now little over a year before Britain has to quit the EU it is vital discussions on future trading arrangements and a possible implementation period to avoid a cliff-edge for businesses begin.
EU leaders have stood firm on demanding that trade talks cannot begin until they are satisfied ‘sufficient progress’ has been made on the first round of issues being discussed.
After talks with the Prime Minister, Tusk said it was ‘possible’ sufficient progress could be made at the December summit but remained a ‘huge challenge’.
‘We need to see progress from UK within 10 days on all issues, including on Ireland,’ he said.
As she left a gathering of European leaders in Brussels, May said: ‘There are still issues across the various matters we are negotiating on to be resolved but there has been a very positive atmosphere in the talks and a genuine feeling that we want to move forward together.’