EU Accuses UK of Sabotaging Brexit Talks, Planting Anti-Brussels News Stories, in ‘Leaked’ Docs

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen addresses the press ending the second day special European Council summit in Brussels on February 21, 2020. - Time was called on the summit after two days and a night of talks that failed to narrow stubborn differences between a handful …
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images

The European Union has launched a series of fresh attacks on the United Kingdom on the verge of a new round of Brexit talks commencing on Tuesday, accusing Britain of deliberately delaying progress until the last moment.

The claims come after weeks of the British government accusing the EU of deliberately being “intransigent” in talks — which Brussels now claims of London.

Leaked to British left-liberal newspaper The Guardian, the internal EU cables were paraphrased in a report which outlined the main areas of complaint from EU negotiators.

Chief among them is that the UK is deliberately delaying progress on talks, despite — so it is claimed — already having the solution to disagreements over key areas of contention including fisheries and regulation alignment, to agree to them at the last minute.

The Guardian article suggests this is because negotiators want to use these to achieve a “last-minute trade-off” — in other words, to use them as a bargaining chip as negotiations go to the wire.

The alleged leak also claims that the UK is undermining negotiations in other ways. It suggests Downing Street has planted negative press stories about the EU in British newspapers, and then goes on to claim that London intends to short-cut negotiations by bypassing Brussels altogether and negotiate directly with domestic leaders of EU nations.

The messages may be seen in the context of an ongoing exchange between London and Brussels throughout the Brexit process, where negotiations over the future relationship have continued both in private and in public through newspaper briefings and “leaks” for years. One of the breakout words of the post-Brexit vote era has been intransigence, frequently wheeled out by politicians and journalists alike to describe political heel-dragging or refusal to bend to negotiators’ demands.

The EU has been frequently called ‘intransigent’ for its negotiator’s apparent refusal to accept the fact the UK is leaving the bloc. London, on the other hand, has been called “intransigent’ over sticking to its negotiation red lines. Both sides have blamed each other for talks progressing slowly.

Nevertheless, a fresh round of negotiations begins in London on Tuesday morning, with the UK’s chief negotiations David Frost calling on the European Union to be more “realistic”, reports the Evening Standard.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson drew a red line, saying that if a deal is not agreed on by October 15th, he will prepare to take the UK out of the bloc’s institutions and deal with the EU-27 on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms on December 31st, 2020. The prime minister said with confidence that it would be a “good outcome of the UK”.

“We will have full control over our laws, our rules, and our fishing waters. We will have the freedom to do trade deals with every country in the world. And we will prosper mightily as a result,” he said.

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