Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured last night as the Prime Minister passed at an EU dinner in Estonia) today dismissed Theresa May’s Florence speech
Jean-Claude Juncker today dismissed Theresa May’s Florence speech and new offer on security by claiming it will take ‘miracles’ for Brexit trade talks to start next month.
The European Commission president slapped down Britain’s latest offers just days after council chief Donald Tusk struck a more positive note.
The new clash came as EU leaders gathered in Estonia for an informal meeting ahead of a crucial summit on October 19-20.
Britain is desperate for Brussels to agree ‘sufficient progress’ has been made on the Brexit divorce to allow talks on trade to begin.
Mrs May made a new ‘unconditional’ offer on Britain’s security role after Brexit and is due to have a face to face meeting with re-elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel at today’s gathering to try and break the deadlock.
But as he arrived at the meeting in Tallin, Mr Juncker said: ‘I’m saying there will be no sufficient progress from now until October unless miracles will happen.’
Addressing British troops at the Nato mission in Estonia earlier today, the Prime Minster said the commitment to European security was ‘unconditional’.
Mrs May has travelled to the Estonia-Russia border with French President Emmanuel Macron and her Estonian host PM Juri Ratas.
She hopes the offer of a ‘bold, new security partnership’ will open up the deadlocked Brexit negotiations. Mrs May will meet the re-elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the fringes of the Tallin meeting later.
Addressing British troops at the Nato mission in Estonia today (pictured), Prime Minster Theresa May said the commitment to European security was ‘unconditional’
Mrs May (pictured greeting British troops this morning) is due to have a face to face meeting with re-elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel at today’s gathering
Britain has 800 troops in the Nato mission policing Europe’s eastern frontier amid high tensions over Russian aggression.
In her speech, Mrs May said: ‘While we are leaving the European Union, as I have said many times, we are not leaving Europe so the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.
‘Russia’s continued aggression represents a growing danger to our friends here in Estonia as well as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and our response must be clear and unequivocal.
‘By stepping up Nato’s deterrence and defence posture you are showing that we are equipped to respond to any threat that we face. You are showing that we are ready to do so.’
Mrs May and French President Emmanuel Macron inspected Nato troops on the Estonian border with Russia (pictured this morning)
Mrs May has travelled to the Estonia-Russia border with French President Emmanuel Macron and her Estonian host PM Juri Ratas (left)
Mrs May met some of the 800 British soldiers who are the mainstay of the Nato force guarding Europe’s eastern frontier
Mrs May stressed that the UK would continue to provide aid and assistance to EU member states which were the victims of armed aggression, terrorism or natural disasters after Brexit.
‘Our resolve to draw on the full weight of our military, intelligence, diplomatic and development resources to lead international action with our partners on the issues that affect the security and prosperity of our peoples is unchanged,’ she said.
‘And our determination to defend the stability, security and prosperity of our European neighbours and friends remains steadfast.’
Her words echoed her speech in Florence last week when she emphasised Britain’s commitment to the collective security of Europe as she sought unblock the stalled Brexit talks.
Mrs May (pictured with the troops today) hopes the offer of a ‘bold, new security partnership’ will open up the deadlocked Brexit negotiations
Britain has 800 troops in the Nato mission policing Europe’s eastern frontier amid high tensions over Russian aggression
In her speech at the base in Tapa today the Prime Minister said it was essential that European nations stood together in the face of the threat from a resurgent Russia
Speaking in Tapa, where Britain has stationed 800 troops leading a Nato battlegroup, the Prime Minister said it was essential that European nations stood together in the face of the threat from a resurgent Russia.
‘When a nation like Russia violates the rules-based international order that we have worked so hard to create, we must come together with our allies to defend that international system and the liberal values, human rights and the rule of law by which we stand,’ she said.
‘I am clear that Britain will always stand with our allies in defence of these values.’
Mrs May has offered UK expertise on combating cyber threats from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) at a meeting of EU leaders at the Tallinn digital summit.
The recent spate of major cyber attacks across Europe, including an assault on the NHS, shows the need for closer co-operation on tackling the danger to financial systems and the public sector, she said.
Mrs May Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven (second right) as the leaders gathered for the informal dinner
Mrs May was seated with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydto (pictured) during the dinner. Squaring Poland is crucial to Britain’s hopes of a Brexit deal
Britain’s PM also chatted to the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni as Europe’s leaders gathered (pictured)
Mrs May attended a dinner with other EU leaders in the Estonian capital Tallin last night (pictured) but Brexit has been deliberately left off the agenda
The premier told Europe: ‘As we prepare for Brexit, I want to build a bold, new security partnership with the EU.
‘A partnership that reflects our shared history, promotes our common values and maintains a secure and prosperous Europe.
‘Nato remains the bedrock of our collective security and there is no clearer demonstration of the UK’s unconditional commitment to Europe’s defence than the 800 British troops now in Tapa, leading a Nato battlegroup and standing shoulder to shoulder with their Estonian, French and, soon, their Danish counterparts too.’