A former senior European Commission official has warned Britain is "deluded" if the Government believes that the European Union will negotiate without threats.
Jonathan Faull, who used to be the European Commission’s most senior British official, said Brexit negotiations will be anything but smooth.
During a panel discussion this week, fellow European expert Professor Brigid Laffan echoed this remark.
They all predicted that the EU elite will quickly turn on Britain
She warned that the EU 27 will enter the talks ready to take down Britain if that is in the European interest.
The panel event named 'UK In A Changing Europe', was hosted by a research group headed by former diplomats and academic experts on Europe.
They all predicted that the EU elite will quickly turn on Britain as talks between the two partners get underway later this month.
Mrs May officially triggered Brexit when she signed Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty last month
Brexit talks are set to start later this month
There is a phrase in Brussels that ‘if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu’
Professor Brigid Laffan
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Mrs May officially triggered Brexit when she signed Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty last month.
Professor Laffan, who works at the European University Institute, said Prime Minister Theresa May’s Government faces an uphill struggle in exit negotiations.
She added: "There is a phrase in Brussels that ‘if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu’."
Mr Faull agreed with this, before adding: “Brexit negotiations will be the harsh reality of diplomacy.
"Nobody should be surprised unless they were a bit deluded.”
Experts on the EU had a warning for the British Government
Mr Faull has held a number of top EU jobs including under Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during the EU referendum campaign.
The former French ambassador to the EU, Pierre Vimont, also told the Westminster audience that the 27-nation bloc will use Brexit talks to defend its own long-term interests, which is why it will not be prepared to make any major concessions to the Prime Minister.