One of the EU’s most senior politicians has warned Theresa May that the ultimate outcome of Brexit is for Britain to decide, not Brussels, after the British prime minister told her parliament she was waiting for the EU to decide the future relationship.
Donald Tusk, who chaired last week’s EU summit as European Council president, raised the pressure on Mrs May, who has been buffeted by infighting within her own party over Brexit’s ultimate outcome, by saying it was her government’s responsibility to decide how negotiations would proceed.
“This is in fact up to London how this will end: with a good deal, no deal, or no Brexit,” Mr Tusk told the European Parliament in a post-summit report.
Mrs May on Monday told the House of Commons that the summit’s conclusions showed the remaining 27 EU countries had decided “it’s up for them to consider what they want to see from the future relationship so that the next phase of negotiations can begin”.
Mr Tusk appeared to directly challenge that assertion, and called on the remaining EU27 to hold firm.
“We must keep our unity regardless of the direction of the talks,” he told MEPs. “Ahead of us is still the toughest stress test – if we fail it the negotiations will end with our defeat”
Mr Tusk also said that, on the tricky question of how to reconfigure the European Parliament after Brexit, his preference is to shrink the size of the assembly after the UK leaves, rather than reallocate the British places on the benches to other nations.
The approach is “logical” he said.