Brexit: Theresa May tells EU she wants 'deep and special relationship' after meeting with Juncker and Barnier

Tom Batchelor
Theresa May welcomes Jean-Claude Juncker to Downing Street: Reuters

Theresa May has told EU leaders she wants a “deep and special relationship” with the bloc after holding talks with Brussels chiefs in Downing Street.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU's main Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, had dinner with the Prime Minister and David Davis, in what was described as a “constructive” meeting.

Few details about the content of the discussion were released, but the forthcoming EU summit this weekend is likely to have featured.

"The PM had a constructive meeting this evening with President Juncker of the European Commission," a spokesperson for Ms May said in a statement.

"Following the UK's letter of notification under Article 50 (on its departure from the EU), she reiterated the UK's commitment to achieving a deep and special partnership with the European Union.

"The PM and president Juncker also discussed a range of other international issues in a useful working dinner."

A spokesman for the Commission also described the meeting as “constructive”.

“They discussed the broader geopolitical agenda and issues of strategic interest to both,” he said.

"President Juncker and Prime Minister May discussed the Article 50 process ahead of his participation in the European Council on April 29."

At Saturday’s summit, the leaders of the 27 other EU countries will consider their approach to the talks on the UK's withdrawal.

Meanwhile, Mr Davis has said "cool heads, strong leadership and traditional British resolve" will be needed to secure a good deal as the UK leaves the EU.

Speaking to the Prosperity UK conference in London, he acknowledged Britain will have to make compromises in the negotiations, but insisted the country has "very good reason to feel optimistic".

He added: "Securing an agreement with the EU, within the two-year period, about our withdrawal and the shape of our future relationship will be challenging.

"We will have difficult issues to confront. Compromises will be necessary on both sides."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told diplomats at the Lord Mayor's banquet in the City of London he had “no doubt that the negotiations will be tough and some plaster may fall off the ceiling”, but added: "I am also sure that Theresa May can pull it off and usher in a new era of free trade deals."

Additional reporting agencies

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