EU accuses May of 'double cherry-picking' on post-Brexit trade deal

The European Union dismissed British Prime Minister Theresa May's outline for a post-Brexit trade deal as "double cherry-picking," in an internal document leaked ahead of the presentation of EU draft guidelines on future relations on Wednesday.

Addressed to the 27 EU member states remaining after Britain's exit, the document, whose content was first reported by The Guardian and later confirmed to dpa, assessed May's speech last Friday as a "change in tone, but not in substance" that was aimed mainly at domestic audiences.

"While the speech was long on aspirations, it was short on workable solutions that would respect the EU 27 principles," said the document prepared by the European Commission, which negotiates on behalf of the member states.

The EU said May was proposing a "new model" for a future relationship that was "taking in selective elements of EU membership and of third country trade agreements," calling it "double cherry-picking."

The damning assessment of May's much-anticipated speech, which the EU hoped would bring more clarity on what Britain wants from the future trade relationship, comes as European Council President Donald Tusk is due to present the EU's draft guidelines on future relations.

The document, which Tusk will present during a trip to Luxembourg, will first require the approval of the EU 27 and will form the basis for negotiations on trade relations between Britain and the EU.