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Brexit: No 'sufficient progress' yet, but UK more realistic says EU's Donald Tusk

EU Council President Donald Tusk has told UK Prime Minister Theresa May that Brexit talks have not yielded enough progress. But he also acknowledged that Britain has adopted a more realistic attitude.

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EU asks Theresa May to translate words into action

Britain was finally striking a more "constructive and realistic" note, EU President Donald Tusk said after a two-hour meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday in London.

Praising May's Brexit speech in Florence last week, he said that he felt that "the philosophy of having the cake and eating it is finally coming at an end," using a phrase Brexit supporters, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had used in the past.

May said that she had intended last week's speech to "create momentum in the ongoing talks" and that it was important for EU negotiators to now respond in the same spirit," according to a Downing Street statement.

Read moreGuy Verhofstadt: Germany needs courage!

The EU's negotiators have repeatedly stressed that the UK cannot leave the EU while holding on to all the benefits that come with membership in the bloc.

But Tusk also stressed that there had not been "sufficient progress" to unlock negotiations on future ties between the UK and the EU.

"If you ask me today... I would say there is no sufficient progress yet but we will work on it," he told reporters outside Downing Street.

Brexit talks October deadline

His comments come a day after the fourth round of Brexit talks started, led by the EU's Michel Barnier and the UK's David Davis.

The EU has stipulated that the current negotiations – which are to culminate in an EU meeting on the topic on October 19 to 20 -  will have to resolve the status of EU citizens living in Britain, the bill Britain will have to pay for leaving the EU and the question of what should happen to the Irish border after Brexit.

Only if enough progress has been made in these key areas would negotiators be able to move on to issues the UK has expressed a particular interest in, such as trade ties with the bloc. The UK is hoping to strike a definitive deal to leave the EU by October 2018, to be able to elave the bloc the following spring.

ng/kms (AFP, AP)

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