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Updated 09:22 26/10/20

May to discuss Brexit and migration at EU summit

By Daryl Jackson, News Editor

03 Feb 2017

Theresa May is hoping to use talks to convince EU leaders the UK will remain a "reliable partner" but has been warned about her closeness to Donald Trump. The Prime Minister is holding talks with European leaders including Angela Merkel, Spain's Mariano Rajoy and Austria's Christian Kern at the EU Presidency Summit in Malta.

Mrs May will only attend part of the EU Presidency Summit in Valletta and will not be present when the rest of the leaders discuss Brexit. The main topics for discussion are the UK's impending exit and the migration crisis but the leaders are also expected to shape and approach on how to deal with Mr Trump.

Mrs May arrived in Valletta with the message that Europe must increase its defence spending to meet NATO limits, following her talks with the US President.But her closeness to Mr Trump has earned warnings from other leaders, including the Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat.

Mr Muscat said Theresa May must choose her priorities well when deciding whether Britain's future lies with the United States or Europe. He joined a chorus of European criticism of the new US President. Mr Muscat also suggested the EU had not yet decided whether to open future trade negotiations with Britain alongside exit talks after Article 50 is triggered next month.

Mr Muscat said: "I do believe the UK is in a very delicate situation, right now. It is fetching a free trade deal with Europe and eventually the United States.

"In both trade deals it will be the junior partner because the UK is much larger than most European states, but it is smaller than Europe as a whole and smaller than the United States as a whole.

"I think it is a balancing job the Prime Minister must make. I will not judge her on the choices she makes.

"But it is pretty clear she needs to choose her priorities well."

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