Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit plan will have to “reworked” in key areas including on future trade relations and on the crucial question of the Irish border, European Council president Donald Tusk has said.

But Mr Tusk, speaking ahead of an informal European Council meeting in Salzburg, said Mrs May’s compromise proposals did mark “a positive evolution of the UK’s approach” and showed a willingness to minimise the “negative impacts of Brexit”.

He said that Brexit talks were now entering “a decisive phase” and that he wanted to see a deal in the autumn, confirming that he would convene a special summit in mid-November to try to broker an agreement.

EU leaders strongly disagree with a central proposition in Mrs May’s Chequers plan that Britain should participate in some parts of the single market — including manufactured goods and agriculture — but not in others.

Mrs May’s proposed “free trade area” would exclude services and she does not envisage Britain observing single market obligations, such as free movement of people and contributions to the EU budget.

Mr Tusk tweeted: “Today there is perhaps more hope but there is surely less and less time.”

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