Theresa May has issued a fresh call for European Union leaders to move on to the “next stage” in the Brexit negotiations.
Arriving in Brussels for the EU Eastern Partnership summit, the Prime Minister said the EU and the UK needed to “step forward together” in the ongoing talks.
She confirmed she will be meeting European Council president Donald Tusk in the margins of the gathering later on Friday.
It follows Mr Tusk’s warning that the EU needed greater clarity on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal, including the divorce bill, by early December if there was to be any chance of leaders giving the go-ahead for phase two of the Brexit negotiations to start at their next summit later in the month.
Mrs May told reporters: “I will be seeing President Tusk here today, talking about the positive discussions we are having looking ahead to the deep and special partnership I want with the European Union.
“These negotiations are continuing but what I am clear about is that we must step forward together.
“This is for both the UK and the European Union to move on to the next stage.”
Since her last meeting with Mr Tusk at an EU gathering in Gothenburg, Sweden, a week ago the Cabinet has met to discuss what it would be prepared to pay to settle the UK’s “divorce bill” in order to break the stalemate in the negotiations.
Mr Tusk will be expected to probe her on reports that ministers agreed to double the sum originally put on the table by Mrs May to around £40 billion.
However it is thought she does not want to name a precise figure until she has a clear idea of what kind of trade deal is available with the remaining EU member states in the phase two negotiations.
The Eastern Partnership summit brings together EU leaders with those of six former Soviet states, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
Mrs May took the opportunity to underline Britain’s continuing commitment to European security, regardless of the fact that it is leaving the EU.
“We must be open-eyed about the actions of hostile states like Russia who threaten the potential growth of the eastern neighbourhood and who try to tear our collective strength apart,” she said.
“The United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to continuing to play our leading role in maintaining Europe’s security.
“We may be leaving the European Union but we are not leaving Europe.”