EU official: UK government living in a 'fantasy' over Brexit

Posted On: 
25th May 2018

Britain is living in a "fantasy" where it believes it can retain all the benefits of being in the European Union even after it leaves, according to a Brussels official.

Negotiations between the EU and UK have stalled.
Credit: 
PA Images

The unnamed insider told journalists that the Brexit negotiations will continue to stall unless UK negotiators accept that things will change forever after 30 March next year.

But a British official hit back by accusing the EU of "trying to insult us".

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Speaking after the latest round of talks between UK and European officials ended, the Brussels source told the BBC: "I'm a bit concerned because the precondition for fruitful discussions has to be the UK accepts the consequences of its own choices," the official said.

"The sooner we move beyond 'let's just keep everything we have now'… the sooner we move away from this fantasy, then the quicker we can make progress."

On the vexed issue of how to maintain an open border in Ireland after Brexit, the official said "we are running out of time" and that a solution was no closer to being found.

A UK official, speaking on condition of anonymity, dismissed the EU's criticisms out of hand.

He said: "We presented seven papers this week, in the interests of resolving difficult issues in the interests of both sides, so the claim we aren't providing enough detail is laughable.

"The risk is that, if they follow down this track, putting conditions on our unconditional offers and trying to insult us, the EU will end up with a relationship with its third biggest economy and largest security partner that lets down millions of citizens in the EU and UK."

GALILEO

The latest row came as Brexit Secretary David Davis took to Twitter to criticise the EU's insistence that Britain cannot remain part of the Galileo spy satellite programme after Brexit.