Britain is preparing new proposal on Irish border - UK PM May

"We are not bluffing on this issue", Foster said.

"Comparing the EU to the Soviet Union is as unwise as it is insulting".

He also dismissed Theresa May's complaints over her treatment at the Salzburg summit, vowing to continue telling her the "unpleasant" truth about her Chequers proposals. The Soviet Union was about prisons and gulags, borders and walls, violence against citizens and neighbours. However May has been grandstanding on what's a generous offer because she says it would break up the UK.

"From the very beginning, the European Union offer has been not just a Canada deal, but a Canada plus plus plus deal, much further-reaching on trade, internal security and foreign policy cooperation".

On Mrs May's claims the European Union failed to show "respect" at last month's summit in Austria, Mr Tusk - who was criticised for posting a sarcastic picture of her at the meeting - said presenting the bloc's position honestly "is the best way of showing respect for partners". As the President of the European Council and someone who spent half of my life in the Soviet Bloc, I know what I'm talking about.

This would be "much further reaching on trade, on internal security and on foreign policy co-operation" than Canada's arrangement, he said.

Noting his own experience as a political party leader, the former Polish prime minister said that now May had concluded her Conservatives' annual conference on Wednesday it was time to "get down to business".

Mr Tusk said in Brussels after meeting Irish premier Leo Varadkar: "The EU wants a relationship with the United Kingdom that is as close and special as possible".

"I think it's a good deal for the UK".

The EU has already proposed allowing Northern Ireland to have trade with the Irish Republic without full checks, essentially saying it will give them a waiver because it's a small economy.

"We are continuing to work on that new offer and we will put a new offer before the European Commission", May told ITV news.

There is no official confirmation of the plans or when the proposals will be presented to the European Union, she added.

And asked about the prospect of "light touch regulatory checks" between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Mr Dodds asked why such techniques could not be used on the land frontier in Ireland.

  • Rogelio Becker