Brexit news – top EU official says bloc will call Britain’s bluff over exit negotiations | Politics | News

Juho Romakkaniemi‏, who is the chief of staff to EU Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen, said the negotiations risk “failing completely” because the UK has failed to put forward proper proposals. 

In a series of tweets the Finnish official said Britain would suffer a far greater “economic hit” than the EU in the event of a no-deal but expressed hope an agreement could be struck. 

He sent out the messages before today’s acrimonious press conference between Brexit secretary David Davis and EU negotiator Michel Barnier, at which it was clear little progress has been made in the talks. 

Mr Romakkaniemi‏’s remarks will be seen as a further sign of the growing divide between London and Brussels over how the negotiations are being conducted, with the two sides having seemingly reached an impasse. 

Today Mr Davis openly criticised the bloc’s phased negotiating strategy, under which the issues of citizens’ rights, the Brexit bill and Ireland must be solved before trade talks can begin, calling it unrealistic. 

In response, his counterpart Mr Barnier insisted he was only sticking to the instructions handed to him by the 27 member states and said anyone trying to undermine his mandate was “wasting their time”. 

The pair are at loggerheads over the sequencing of the talks and in particular related to the Brexit bill, with Britain unwilling to hand over huge sums of cash until it has received reassurances over a trade deal. 

Brussels is unwilling to break with its structure, with the impasse prompting Mr Romakkaniemi to pen a series of tweets tweets titled “Brexit considerations” earlier this month setting out his views. 

He wrote: “It’s baffling that UK Government doesn’t seem to understand a few simple things. There won’t be any discussion about any new arrangements before there is an agreement on citizens rights and financial settlement.

“We are not negotiating in the European Council meetings and/or separately with each Member States – not even with Berlin or Paris. Position papers are very welcome, but it would be helpful to start with the things we need to sort out first.

“To reach a compromise, it requires two sides with clear and coherent positions to negotiate with. Waiting risks failing completely. The economic hit of ‘no deal’ is far more harsher for the UK than the EU. So any UK’s bluff will be called by the EU’s side.” 

He concluded: “The EU wants to have a fair deal, but the EU measures the fairness logically…

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