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Theresa May says she'd be 'bloody difficult' with EU during Brexit talks

British Cabinet frustration with the EU over the early phases of the Brexit negotiations intensified

IANS  |  London 

European Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker (right) with UK PM Theresa May
European Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker (right) with UK PM Theresa May

Britain's Prime Minister has warned European Union (EU) Chief that he is about to find out how much of a "bloody difficult woman" she is, as cabinet frustration with the over the early phases of the negotiations intensified.

May made the comments about the European Commission President on Tuesday after extensive details of a dinner she held with him and key negotiator Michel Barnier were leaked to a German newspaper over the weekend.

May also used the interview with the BBC to confirm that she intends to serve a full term to 2022 if she wins the election on June 8.

The Prime Minister's remarks come after a German newspaper reported that in the wake of a meeting with May, Juncker phoned Chancellor Angela Merkel and said the British PM lives "in another galaxy" and is "deluding herself" over

May hit back over the issue during an election campaign visit to the southwest.

"During the Conservative party leadership campaign I was described by one of my colleagues as a bloody difficult woman," she told the BBC.

"And I said at the time the next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker."

May said there was a lot of agreement between and the EU, but said the controversy over the leaks had proved that the upcoming negotiations would be "tough".

Despite May trumpeting her "bloody difficult" credentials as a negotiator, the has long insisted that the talks would be run by the European commission acting on behalf of 27 member-states, according to the report.

The account of last Wednesday's meeting in Downing Street, laid out in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, lifted the lid on major tensions relating to both Britain's "divorce bill" and the critical issue of securing citizens' rights.

May was said to tell the group that was not legally obliged to pay a penny, infuriating Juncker, who said he was "10 times more sceptical" about getting a deal done by the end of the session.

Leaks to the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper suggested Juncker knocked back May's plan to reach a deal guaranteeing citizens' rights as early as June, because he believed the issue was too complex to agree so soon.

said it did not recognise the version of the meeting reported by the publication.

Speaking about the issue, May said: "What is I think possible and what we want to do is to be able to give reassurance to citizens living here and to UK citizens living in Europe."

First Published: Wed, May 03 2017. 18:36 IST