Eurocrats think the Brexit talks are 'very likely' to fail
EU officials are reportedly exasperated by the “tough” approach of Theresa May and fear the talks may not even clear the first hurdle.
The revelations come after one of Brussels’ own former judges tore into the bloc’s negotiating strategy, calling it “exaggerated” and “dangerous”.
According to the German broadcaster n-tv, quoting a high ranking official, eurocrats are increasingly resigned to the fact that there will be no deal over Brexit.
Senior figures in Brussels apparently blame the impasse on Mrs May’s intransigence over their demands on financial contributions and citizens’ rights.
Alongside keeping the Northern Ireland border free and open, they make up the first phase of the negotiations which must be completed before trade talks can start.
Earlier this week the EU Commission published its most detailed guidelines yet on the two key issues, generating a startled response on both sides of the Channel.
In London, a respected think tank branded eurocrats’ demands over citizens’ rights “absurd” and said they amounted to an effective continuation of free movement.
The Commission is insisting that all EU citizens who have lived or worked in the UK, both currently or in the past, are granted lifelong residency and the right to move over future family members to be with them.
Under the proposals all of these citizens would have their rights supervised by the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ), meaning Britain may end up never being truly free of EU lawmakers.
In a blistering statement Migration Watch, which is usually reserved in its comments, said the list of demands was “a wide open door for abuse” and would lead to a “last minute rush” for the UK border.
And on the EU side the Belgian former European Court of Justice judge Franklin Dehousse described the bloc’s negotiation position as “hardly defendable” and said eurocrats were “in denial” about Brexit.
He ridiculed Brussels’ demands that Britain be made to pay an £85 billion exit fee and said the EU’s “drastic” approach to the talks would yield “limited benefits” for either side.
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But the view still persists within the Brussels bubble that it is the UK which is being unreasonable in demanding an end to free movement and financial contributions to the euro budget.
After meeting with the British negotiating team prominent German MEP Elmar Brok, a member of Angela Merkel’s party, said: "If there will be no relation to reality, I see a great chance that the thing will collapse."
Brexit Negotiations: Britain's sternest enemies Tue, April 4, 2017
According to a new index, the EU27 countries fall into three groups: hard-core, hard and soft. These are the countries with the highest scores which indicate a fairly strong opposition to Britain’s position
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France has the highest score in the index at 32.5
And last month Mrs Merkel herself caused consternation when she accused the UK of being “deluded” about Brexit after being briefed on a disastrous Downing Street dinner by Jean-Claude Juncker.
The briefing, given by a senior EU official to a German broadcaster, may be an attempt to put pressure on Mrs May to soften her stance as she faces a battle to get re-elected on June 8.
But equally it is clearly targeted as a message to the German domestic audience that the EU is being tough over Brexit, deliberately painting Britain as an unreasonable adversary which will be given no quarter in the upcoming talks.
Elsewhere today a leaked report demonstrates the concern within the EU parliament’s ranks about the impact of Britain leaving on the bloc’s budget, with dozens of initiatives facing massive spending cuts.