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Breakdown of CETA talks shows challenges of Brexit deal

The breakdown of talks intended to create a free trade zone between Canada and the EU has highlighted the challenge faced by Theresa May as she attempts to strike her own deal with the bloc after the vote for Brexit.

One small region of Belgium is blocking a planned CETA trade deal with Canada that was seven years in the making - and it will have a similar power of veto over any agreement with Britain.

If the UK votes for a hard Brexit then it will need to have inked an agreement with the bloc within just two years - but European leaders are already warning that could be virtually impossible.

"If there are all these problems to have a simple trade agreement with Canda, just imagine a trade agreement with the United Kingdom," said Malta's president Joe Muscat.

May presses EU for a 'bespoke' Brexit deal

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker Credit: PA

Theresa May has pressed the EU for a "bespoke" Brexit deal that would allow the UK to control migration while still keeping strong trade links, a spokeman has said.

The prime minister vowed to carry out talks in a "positive and constructive spirit" in a one-on-one meeting with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.

It came after she was sidelined at a summit which saw her only allowed to address fellow leaders briefly on the UK's plans for Brexit.

A No 10 spokesman said Mrs May had stressed that Britain would remain a strong partner to Europe even after leaving the bloc, as she tries to set a positive tone on the difficult talks.

The Prime Minister set out that the UK would be looking for a bespoke model rather than an 'off the shelf' solution.

She explained that we would needto see controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europeas well as a positive outcome for those who wish to trade in goodsand services.

They agreed we should approach the Brexit negotiations in a positive and constructive spirit to ensure the process is as smooth and orderly as possible.

– Downing Street spokesman

Canada-EU free trade deal talks 'have failed'

Canada's trade minister Chrystia Freeland said the talks had broken down Credit: Reuters

Talks aimed at establishing a free trade deal between Canada and the EU are reported to have failed.

Canada's trade minister Chrystia Freeland announced the intense talks had broken down as she walked out of meetings with EU leaders in Belgium.

A spokesman for the European Commission said that the talks had currently halted, but they were still continuing to work on a deal.

All 28 EU governments support the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

But the bloc cannot approve the deal without support from five sub-federal administrations, and French-speaking Wallonia has steadfastly opposed it.

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May: Brexit talks to be conducted in way to get best deal

Britain will conduct Brexit negotiations in a way that will secure it the best deal, the Prime Minister has said after she was questioned over suggestions that the talks should take place in French rather than English.

The EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, had previously suggested that divorce talks and documents should all be conducted in French.

However, an EU spokeswoman stressed that it was not an official line and that there is "no language regime for the negotiations".

Theresa May's comments came after her first European Council meeting as Prime Minister.

May: UK will consider all options if Syria atrocities continue

Theresa May speaks after her first EU summit. Credit: APTN

Britain will consider all options if the atrocities in Syria continue, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

Speaking after her first European Council meeting, Ms May said she argued for a robust, united message from the EU for the Syrian regime and Russia to stop its attacks on Aleppo.

May: Britain will play 'full and active' role in EU until Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May has said Britain will play a "full and active role in the EU" until it leaves.

After leaving the EU Britain will remain "enthusiastic" and "outward looking" and is committed to trading freely with other European countries.

"The UK is leaving the EU, but we are not leaving Europe," Ms May said, speaking after her first European Council meeting.

The Prime Minister said that the UK will continue to argue for free trade and that Britain is discussing trade ties with other countries.

Ms May added she wants to cement Britain as a close partner of the EU once Brexit has taken place and that she is seeking a "mature, cooperative relationship" with the UK's European partners.

Ms May continued that she is not looking to replicate a trade model that another country has with the EU, but that the UK needs its own, and that "the deal that is right for the UK will also be right for the European Union".

However, the MP for Maidenhead did concede that there would be difficult moments as Britain leaves the EU and that it would "take time".

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