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UK: Don't mistake politeness for weakness

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Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged the EU not to mistake British politeness for weakness after Brexit negotiations reached an impasse.After rejecting the UK's proposals, Donald Tusk, head of the European Council, posted a provocative picture on Instagram featuring UK PM Theresa May "cherry-picking" a cake.Mr Hunt said Mr Tusk needed to avoid "revving up" the situation.Mr Tusk has since said he admires Mrs May, and a compromise is possible.Mrs May tried to sell her proposals for the UK's future relationship with the EU at a summit in Salzburg, Austria, this week.
The plan - the so-called "Chequers agreement" - was agreed by the UK government in July.But EU leaders rejected a major part of her plan, saying the new economic partnership she had put forward would "not work" and risked "undermining the single market".Mrs May later delivered a speech in Downing Street in which she said the EU's rejection of her plan without offering an alternative was "unacceptable".And on Saturday, Mr Hunt said the UK was still waiting for a "detailed response" from the EU.
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What's behind Tusk's Instagram diplomacy?
On Friday, Mr Tusk said Britain had known about the EU's reservations over the Chequers plan for weeks.He added that EU leaders at the summit had treated her proposals with "all seriousness" and said he was "convinced that a compromise, good for all, is still possible".But Mr Hunt insisted it was time for people in the EU "to step back from the abyss" of a no-deal Brexit, to "sit down and to talk to us about how we can make these sensible, concrete proposals actually work".The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 - but the two sides are trying to reach a deal on trade, and other areas of co-operation, by November so it can be ratified in time.
Donald Tusk's Instagram post was his own idea, an EU source told the BBC
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