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Tusk: UK foreign minister remarks insulting

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Tusk: Comparing EU with Soviet Union 'unwise and insulting'
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's jibe likening the EU to the Soviet Union was "as unwise as it is insulting", the president of the European Council says.In a statement alongside Irish PM Leo Varadkar, Donald Tusk called for "respect", saying as someone who spent half his life in the Soviet bloc: "I know what I am talking about."Asked if Mr Hunt should resign, he replied: "That's not my problem."The foreign secretary made the comments at the Tory conference on Sunday.
Hunt 'must apologise' for EU-Soviet jibe
May demands respect from EU in Brexit talks
Addressing delegates in Birmingham, he accused the EU of seeking to punish the UK in order to "keep the club together".
His speech recalled a visit to Latvia earlier this summer and the role that the UK and others played in helping it transition from Soviet rule to becoming a modern democracy and market economy."What happened to the confidence and ideals of the European dream[/img]

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He has since faced calls to apologise from several EU ambassadors.At a press briefing in Brussels, Mr Tusk - the former prime minister of Poland - said: "In respecting our partners, we expect the same in return."Comparing the EU to the Soviet Union is as unwise as it is insulting."The Soviet Union was about prisons and gulags, borders and walls, violence against citizens and neighbours."The European Union is about freedom and human rights, prosperity and peace, life without fear, it is about democracy and pluralism - a continent without internal borders and walls."As the President of the European Council and someone who spent half his life in the Soviet bloc, I know what I am talking about."At last month's EU summit in Salzburg, Mr Tusk rejected Mrs May's Brexit proposals and sparked anger among some Tories with an Instagram post apparently poking fun at Mrs May and suggesting she was "cherry picking".The day after the summit Mrs May called for "respect" from the EU towards the UK side.Mr Tusk - after his criticism of Mr Hunt's comments and his own call for respect to be shown - added: "Telling the truth, even if difficult and unpleasant, is the best way of showing respect for partners, that's how it was in Salzburg and that's also how it will work in the coming days."He added: "Emotional arguments that stress the issue of dignity sound attractive but they do not facilitate agreement."
'Down to business'
The UK is due to leave the EU in March, but the two sides have not yet reached a deal on how this will work.Mr Tusk said that now the Conservative Party conference had ended, "we should get down to business".And in a remark that was welcomed by some Eurosceptics who want to scrap Theresa May's proposed trade plans, he said the EU remained open to a "Canada plus plus plus" deal - a reference to the EU's free trade deal with Canada.This would be "much further reaching on trade, on internal security and on foreign policy cooperation" than Canada's arrangement, he said.
Reality Check: Red lines on the Irish border
Theresa May has said a deal like Canada's would not prevent a visible, physical border being needed in Northern Ireland - a key commitment of both sides - because of the extra checks that would be needed on goods.The EU has proposed a "backstop" plan to keep the border open - under which Northern Ireland would remain aligned to some EU rules.But this has been rejected by Mrs May who says the arrangement would carve up the UK and create a new border in the Irish sea.UK ministers have suggested new proposals for a border backstop are being prepared.BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said UK officials were understood to be working on plans for a "hybrid backstop" with light-touch regulatory checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the possibility of some kind of democratic oversight from Stormont and a temporary extension of the customs union to the whole of the UK in the event that a free trade deal has not been completed.There is no official confirmation of the plans or when the proposals will be presented to the EU, she added.
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