Prime Minister Theresa May hit back Friday at the European Union after it roundly rejected her Brexit plan, saying its refusal to compromise was "not acceptable" and warning she was still prepared to walk away from the talks.
In a defiant statement from Downing Street, May blamed Brussels for the "impasse" just weeks ahead of a deadline to seal a deal – and six months before Britain leaves the EU in March.
"Throughout this process, I have treated the EU with nothing but respect. The UK expects the same," the prime minister said.
May was speaking after returning from an EU summit in Salzburg Thursday, where her fellow leaders lined up to condemn her proposals for post-Brexit trading ties and the Irish border.
It was a setback characterised by the British media as a "humiliation," just days before a meeting of May's Conservative party, where eurosceptics are ramping up the pressure on their leader to be tough.
Standing at a podium with two British flags behind her, May said: "At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side's proposals without a detailed explanation and counter proposals.
"So we now need to hear from the EU what the real issues are and what their alternative is so that we can discuss them. Until we do, we cannot make progress."
EU Council President Donald Tusk hit back late Friday at May's criticism of the EU's negotiating position: "The results of our analysis have been known to the British side in every detail for many weeks."
"The UK stance presented just before and during the Salzburg meeting was surprisingly tough and in fact uncompromising," he said in a statement.
Tusk added he remains "convinced that a compromise, good for all, is still possible" in Brexit negotiations and that he is "a close friend of the UK and a true admirer of PM May."
EU leaders had previously criticised May's proposal for a free trade area in goods after Brexit, but the tough tone at the Salzburg summit surprised many commentators, with some describing it as an "ambush."
Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron said it would fragment the bloc's single market and "not work", and demanded she come back with an alternative by an EU summit in mid-October.
The bloc also raised the stakes by putting on ice a special summit planned for November to seal a deal, saying it would only happen if there is progress next month.