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EU's Tusk says 'good deal' or 'no deal' on Brexit up to London

The slow progress in 2 years of Brexit talks has stoked fears Britain could leave EU without a deal


EU Council President Donald Tusk holds British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit letter (Photo: Reuters)
EU Council President Donald Tusk. (Photo: Reuters)

President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday that the outcome of fraught talks was "up to London" and that abandoning the divorce remained an option for the

"The will be able to rise to every scenario as long as we are not divided," Tusk told MEPs at a session of the European in the eastern French city of Strasbourg.

"It is in fact up to how this will end: with a good deal, no deal or no Brexit," he said, reiterating the controversial idea that the was open to backtracking on Britain's decision to leave the bloc.

"We have managed to build and maintain unity among the 27 (remaining members), but ahead of us is still the toughest stress test," said former Polish prime minister Tusk.

The comments come just days after European Union leaders threw British Prime Minister a lifeline in talks, agreeing to start preparations for the next stage of negotiations on post-trade and a transition deal.

Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, also in European Parliament, strongly underlined that the commission, which handles the talks for the EU, was approaching the negotiations in good faith.

"The commission is not negotiating in a hostile mood," said Juncker, who on Monday had to firmly deny a media report saying May begged him for help in the talks.

"We want a deal. Those who don't want a deal, the no dealers, they have no friends in the commission," said

The slow progress in the two years of talks has stoked fears could leave the European Union in March 2019 without a deal in place, risking economic and legal chaos.

May is meanwhile struggling to contain divisions within her government and the belief among hardliners that can afford to take a tough stance with Europe.

First Published: Tue, October 24 2017. 20:25 IST