Brussels FINALLY wakes up to no deal danger – eurocrat admits just ’50/50′ chance of deal

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Thierry Breton, the EU’s single market commissioner, insisted the bloc had been “extremely clear” on the expectations that Downing Street would have to live up in order to secure access to the bloc. His intervention comes after Michel Barnier claimed No10 lacked an understanding of how the EU’s internal market operates. Mr Breton said: “We are extremely clear on the conditions and the access to our European market.”

And he told France 2 TV channel there was now just a “50/50” chance of a deal. 

He also said Britain had more to lose than the EU if the trade talks resulted in a no-deal Brexit.

Wrangling over the post-Brexit deal in Brussels broke up this week with little progress on the key sticking points of fisheries, level playing field and governance.

Both sides agreed to take a short break before resuming their negotiating efforts in London on Sunday.

Chief negotiators Lord Frost and Mr Barnier both said that “divergences” still remain between the EU and UK’s positions.

They, however, claimed that progress had been made on putting pen to paper on the legal text after months of refusal to do so by Brussels.

In a private meeting earlier this week, Mr Barnier said the talks are currently “not on a trajectory” to get a deal unless the UK changes its approach.

He raised concerns in the areas of unfair competition and access to Britain’s fishing grounds as potential flashpoints in the next rounds of talks.

The Frenchman insisted the EU had shown a willingness to compromise but that the offer had not been reciprocated by the British team.

There is also a frustration in the camp that Downing Street has claimed the deal on offer from the EU is a “low-value” trade agreement.

In a meeting with MEPs, Mr Barnier lashed out at No10’s “hypocritical” communication strategy, insisting the UK is asking for much more than the bloc has already given to Canada.

An EU diplomat said: “This is not a flimsy trade agreement. This is serious stuff.

MUST READ: Barnier hits out as No10 Brexit claim – UK wants more than Canada

“If all you want is a Canada-style deal, then only ask for that.”

It also emerged that Mr Barnier blocked a “mass bargaining session” between Boris Johnson and EU leaders, such as Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen.

The EU negotiator said the Prime Minister wanted to have a “big tug of war” of as many as 30 unresolved issues in the trade talks.

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Mr Barnier warned such a high stakes showdown would see Britain play off access to its coastal waters against the bloc’s demand for a regulatory level playing field.

One Brussels insider said Mr Barnier was furious with continuous attempts to sideline him in favour of more lenient EU leaders.

“I keep telling them that’s not going to happen,” The bloc’s Brexit chief said, according to sources.

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