UK accused of submitting ‘unrealistic’ draft Brexit deal as talks with EU stall for seventh time

PUBLISHED: 12:35 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:21 25 August 2020

Michel Barnier, the EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator, who has told Boris Johnson to stick to his promises as he warned there would not be a trade deal otherwise; Stefan Rousseau

Michel Barnier, the EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator, who has told Boris Johnson to stick to his promises as he warned there would not be a trade deal otherwise; Stefan Rousseau

PA Wire/PA Images

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has accused Britain of submitting an ‘unrealistic’ draft Brexit deal.

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A draft blueprint put forward by Britain’s Brexit negotiators has been rejected by EU officials who said it was ‘unrealistic’ and not a basis for future talks, The Sun has reported.

It said EU diplomats were told Britain’s plan only considered the bloc’s “offensive interests” and not its core concerns.

According to the paper, the plans covers goods and services but leave out proposals on the level playing field or a dispute mechanism to resolve grievances brought forward by either side after the UK leaves the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice at the end of December.

It also suggested the UK was planning to “trade off” fishing rights in favour of freedom from EU rules at the eleventh hour.

EU sources told The Sun that UK “seems to be negotiating on game theory rather than substance”.

One warned: “As long as Member State priorities are not catered for, the Commission doesn’t consider a drafting exercise based on this text helpful.”

The latest round of Brexit talks ended in deadlock again on Thursday with Barnier warning negotiations were sliding “backwards”.

“Too often this week it felt as if we were going backwards more than forwards,” he told a press conference.

“Given the short time left, what I said in London in July remains true. Today at this stage, an agreement between the UK and the European Union seems unlikely.”

One EU insider added to those concerns, saying: “Outsiders don’t realise how pessimistic we’ve become.

“We expect the mood to switch rapidly to contingency planning, in expectation the UK will throw itself into the blame game rather than the end game.

“The idea that if we do end up with no deal it’ll be because the EU underestimated the UK’s determination is misplaced.

“If it happens it’ll be because there was no overlap of interests allowing a landing zone.”

Another said speculation that Britain will cede access to its waters at the last minute was “risky”.

They said: “Coastal states won’t be allowed by others to undercut the integrity of the single market for some fish. That’s too high a price.”

A spokesman said deal or no deal Brexit “will inevitably create barriers to trade and cross-border exchanges that simply don’t exist today”.

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