May braces for difficult Brexit negotiations
British Prime Minister Theresa May expects divorce talks with the European Union to be difficult, she said on Sunday in response to the tough stance taken by EU leaders over the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
EU leaders endorsed stiff divorce terms for Britain at a Brussels summit on Saturday, warning Britons to have "no illusions" about swiftly securing a new relationship to retain access to EU markets and to be prepared for the complexity of issues such as residency rights for EU citizens. "What this shows, and what some of the other comments we've seen coming from European leaders shows, is that there are going to be times when these negotiations are going to be tough," May told the BBC.
Brussels is concerned about the British government's state of preparation for enormously complicated negotiations and over the degree of understanding in London of what kind of compromises it will have to make to clinch any kind of deal. EU officials said that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier's talks with May in London on Wednesday did nothing to ease that concern.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, repeating a comment she made after Juncker's meeting with May, said she was still worried by "illusions" in Britain about the Brexit talks.
May reaffirmed her position that she would be prepared to walk away from talks without a deal if she did not like what was on offer from Brussels.
"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't believe that," May said in a separate interview with ITV television. "What I also believe is that, with the right strong hand in negotiations, we can get a good deal for the UK."
Britain's most senior EU official has warned that a post-Brexit Britain would have to recognise the rulings of the European court of justice if it wished to maintain the current level of cooperation in countering terrorism and organised crime. Sir Julian King, the European commissioner responsible for security, said the UK's security services had become increasingly reliant on shared crime-fighting tools to carry out their work.
In an interview with the Guardian, King suggested the UK would seek to maintain the status quo on security cooperation, which could form part of tense negotiations with the remaining 27 members of the EU.