Tusk warns the UK: ‘Telling the truth is the best way to approach negotiations’

PUBLISHED: 14:31 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:52 04 October 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk, left, and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar arrive before their meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

European Council President Donald Tusk, left, and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar arrive before their meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

European Council president Donald Tusk has used his latest speech to respond to comments made at Conservative party conference.

Tusk criticised Jeremy Hunt’s remarks at the conference in which compared the EU to the Soviet Union.

He said they were “unwise as it is insulting”, and also suggested that the conference only further hindered progress in negotiations.

Speaking at Brussels after meeting Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar he warned the UK that it is time to speak the truth.

“Telling the truth, even if difficult and unpleasant, is the best way of showing respect for partners, that’s how it was in Salzburg and that’s also how it will work in the coming days.”

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He added: “Emotional arguments that stress the issue of dignity sound attractive but they do not facilitate agreement.

“Let us remember that every actor in this process has their dignity and confrontation in this field will not lead to anything good.”

The EU council president added: “Unacceptable remarks that raise the temperature will achieve nothing except wasting more time.

Tusk said that the EU had been respectful of its partners, and expected the same in return.

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Referring to the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt’s remarks he said that “the Soviet Union was about prisons and gulags, borders and walls, violence against citizens and neighbours.”

“The European Union is about freedom and human rights, prosperity and peace, life without fear, it is about democracy and pluralism - a continent without internal borders and walls.

“As the President of the European Council and someone who spent half his life in the Soviet bloc, I know what I am talking about.”

Tusk rejected any suggestion that the EU was not respecting the dignity of the British.

“Now the Tory party conference is over we should get down to business.”

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