14:40 GMT11 July 2020
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    With UK Prime Minister Theresa May due to deliver a key speech on Brexit next Friday, European Council President Donald Tusk has warned London against "cherry picking" its future ties with the EU.

    Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk specifically touched upon the UK government's approach to the second stage of Brexit talks, which was discussed at Prime Minister Theresa May's country retreat Chequers on Thursday.

    Tusk said that he could only keep an eye on media reports about the discussion, which saw the 11 senior ministers agreeing on so-called "managed divergence," stipulating that Britain could select EU rules to adhere to post-Brexit.

    READ MORE: 'Big Problem': Analyst Says Stopping Brexit Would Be Disastrous for UK Democracy

    "If the media reports are correct, I am afraid that the UK position today is based on pure illusion," Tusked pointed out, rejecting any notion of London "cherry picking" the details of its future relations with the EU.

    According to him, media reports indicated that "cake philosophy is still alive" in Britain, referring to prior comments made by UK officials that they wanted to "have their cake and eat it" by leaving the EU's single market and continuing to enjoy its benefits.

    Twitter users immediately reacted to Tusk's remarks, with many mincing no words when slamming the European Council President's Brexit stance.

    Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union kicked off in June 2017 and are due to wrap up by the end of March 2019.

    The first phase of the talks focused on the protection of the rights of EU citizens in Britain and UK citizens in the bloc, as well as the UK-Irish border and London's financial obligations to Brussels after Brexit.

    READ MORE: Theresa May’s 'War Cabinet' Attempts to Thrash Out Brexit Compromise Position

    The second phase pertains to the transition period in EU-UK relations after Brexit, and their future trade and security cooperation.


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