EU slams ‘fantasy” UK Brexit gambits
The official accused London of failing to accept that Brexit will necessarily distance it from the EU.
The broadside followed three days of talks with British negotiators in Brussels and comes a month before a summit where Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to defuse the Irish issue.
British demands to continue participating in the EU’s easy criminal extradition system or in the most high-security parts of the Galileo satellite program were unacceptable to other member states since May rejects EU legal supervision.
“The sooner we can get out of the business of denying the consequences of Brexit, the sooner we can get on with finding solutions,” the official told reporters.
“The sooner we move away from this fantasy, the quicker we can get to constructive discussions about how to design that future relationship.”
British proposals to avoid a hard land border with EU member Ireland, complete with customs and other checks, were also firmly rejected by Brussels, in part because London was coupling them with a bid to also secure better “backdoor” access for the rest of the United Kingdom to the EU’s single market.
In uncompromising language indicating wide gaps just five months before a target date for a treaty to ensure a smooth Brexit in March, the official said of the Irish issue: “Progress so far seems elusive and substantive progress even more so.”
Talks on a framework for future relations also made little advance, with Britain rejecting a simple free trade pact.