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Brexit negotiations not ready for next stage yet - EU's Tusk

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LONDON (Reuters) - Sufficient progress has not yet been made in Brexit talks to allow negotiations to move to the next phase of discussing the future relationship including trade, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday.

After a meeting in Downing Street with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Tusk said he welcomed a new constructive and realistic tone from the government, adding that “this shows that the philosophy of having a cake and eating it is finally coming at an end - at least I hope so.”

He added: “We will discuss our future relations with the UK once there is so-called sufficient progress. The sides are working and we work hard at it. But if you ask me... I would say there’s no sufficient progress yet, but we will work on it.”

Britain wants to move divorce talks on from settling budget commitments with the bloc and issues such as the future status of EU citizens living in the UK to discussions about future trade relations.

May, who hoped to give the negotiations a shot in the arm with a speech in Florence last week, signalled that from her perspective, it was now up to the EU side to bring something new to the table.

“At the end of the meeting (with Tusk), the PM said her Florence speech had been intended to create momentum in the ongoing talks,” her Downing Street office said in a statement.

“She said it was important for EU negotiators to now respond in the same spirit,” it added.

May earlier told Tusk that Britain and EU could make Brexit a success if the two sides were creative.

“By being creative in the ways we approach these issues, we can find solutions that work both for the remaining (EU) 27 but also for the UK and maintain that cooperation and partnership between the UK and the EU,” May said.

Reporting by Kate Holton, Alistair Smout and Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison