October 16, 2018 / 3:01 PM / a month ago

EU's Tusk bemoans lack of a 'Great' to cut Gordian Brexit Knot

FILE PHOTO: European Council President Donald Tusk arrives for the second day of a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2018. Tatyana Zenkovich/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday bemoaned the lack of leaders great enough to overcome a deadlock on the Irish border in Brexit talks, which he compared to the Gordian Knot unravelled by Alexander the Great.

Casting gloom on the state of play ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week, Tusk said he wished for a leader of the likes of the Macedonian king, fabled to have solved the riddle of the Gordian Knot by slicing through it with one stroke of his sword.

“It looks like a new version of the Gordian Knot,” Tusk said of an impasse over how to ensure there is no return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

“Unfortunately, I can’t see a new version of Alexander the Great,” he quipped. “It’s not so easy to find this kind of creative leader.”

With less than six months to go before Britain’s departure, he said he hoped Prime Minister Theresa May would present something creative enough to solve the impasse at the leaders’ summit but added there was not much grounds for optimism.

Asked whether May’s former foreign minister Boris Johnson might have the mettle to find a solution, Tusk said such claims may be exaggerated.

Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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