A German MEP has claimed that Britain’s ‘messy’ negotiating tactics are to blame for last-minute Brexit talks.
Long-serving German politician Bernd Lange said Brexit negotiations would not have come down to the wire had British officials actually been properly prepared.
Speaking on Bloomberg, Lange said: “There were a lot of months, starting in February, where there was no real work on the text [of a deal] possible.
“The negotiation teams were sitting there and making their fundamental positions at the time.
“This is really linked to the negotiation behaviour of the British government and this is really a mess.”
Lange said work on “concrete” text behind a deal started three weeks ago, which he described as being “not sufficient”.
“If we had started with the text work in February we wouldn’t have such a time constraint,” he explained.
The MEP’s comments come as fears grow about the timing of a Brexit deal.
Critics argue that more time is needed to translate a final legal text into all 27 EU member state languages which will still need ratifying by parliaments across the bloc and in Westminster.
Taking umbrage with that analysis, former international trade secretary Liam Fox said the EU Commission has the authority to implement a trade agreement before it is ratified by member states.
“So yes, we should be able to do it on time,” he reiterated in an interview on Sky News.
In response to Lange’s remarks, one Twitter user wrote: “Rushing through a UK-EU trade deal before the end of transition isn’t a measured approach. Having continuity and then returning to talks in 2021 seems ideal.”
Another user argued: “If the EU had negotiated in good faith over Rules of Origin, fisheries and trade BETWEEN UK & EU… the deal could have been signed months ago.”