Matthew Holehouse, Brexit correspondent for Mlex news service, said Britain’s threat to walk away from the negotiation table if it does not get the right deal has “shocked” Brussels leaders.
He said: “There’s an element of shock and alarm on the EU 27 part, in that what they thought they’d been dealing with, a stable and rational country for 43 years, suddenly doesn’t look very stable at all.
“All this talk of ‘no deal’ scenarios, rather than strengthening the UK’s hand because it makes the EU think that the UK’s serious and has got other options, really just spreads alarm that you’re not dealing with a rational actor.
Matthew Holehouse said EU chiefs were "alarmed" at the UK's Brexit position
There’s an element of shock and alarm on the EU 27 part
“Nobody in the EU27 thinks that leaving without a deal and losing all the bilateral cooperation that you need to make a globalised economy work, nobody thinks that’s a good idea at all.”
The EU is finally preparing for the next phase of Brexit negotiations on future trade with the UK in a major breakthrough for Theresa May’s team.
European Council President Donald Tusk has asked the 27 EU states to start discussing trade internally ahead of next week’s summit, a draft document has revealed.
Brexit negotiations: UK’s key policy positions
Wed, September 13, 2017
Here is a summary of the UK’s main proposals for Brexit
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In a news conference yesterday, EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned talks on the first phase were still “deadlocked” over the divorce bill, describing the stalemate as “disturbing”.
Mr Barnier said he hoped “decisive progress” by December would allow talks of a post-Brexit deal to finally begin.
But Mr Tusk’s document is more upbeat, talking of good progress and the hope of trade talks beginning soon with “internal preparatory discussions” by EU officials in the meantime.
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