Plans for a Brexit transition interval have been thrown into doubt by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who says it’s “not a given” if disagreements persist.
Mr Barnier mentioned time was “very brief” for each side to strike a deal to cease a cliff-edge departure on Brexit day.
He claimed there have been nonetheless “issues” in Brussels “understanding the place” of the British Authorities.
His feedback despatched the pound sliding by a cent towards each the greenback and the euro.
Prime Minister Theresa Could this week vowed to be “sturdy” within the face of EU calls for, together with the continuation of freedom of motion through the transition.
Responding, Mr Barnier mentioned: “I am shocked by these disagreements and in the event that they persist, a transition just isn’t a given.
“I wasn’t speaking a few menace. Now we have to keep in mind what the UK has mentioned. I’ve some issues understanding the place. They themselves requested for this transition interval.
“The EU27 heads of presidency mentioned sure on the idea of very logical positions. It is comprehensible.
“But when this disagreement had been to persist there’ll undoubtedly be an issue.”
Mr Barnier additionally tried to defuse a row with David Davis, after the Brexit Secretary fumed that Brussels was “unwise” to plan a plan to sanction Britain through the transition.
He insisted he had at all times been goal and calm, and refused to be drawn right into a dialogue about “discourteous” language.
The previous European Commissioner added there was nonetheless no ultimate settlement on the Northern Eire border situation.
“You will need to inform the reality,” he cautioned.
Mr Barnier mentioned the one choice that could possibly be put into the ultimate withdrawal settlement at current was Northern Eire adopting “full regulatory alignment” with the EU.
He complained Britain’s provide of particular options was not but viable as a result of “we’re ready for such options”.
The feedback from a media convention in Brussels got here on the finish of every week of technical talks between each side’ negotiators.
There was laughter within the corridor as Mr Barnier was requested why the UK was not giving a presentation on Friday on what it needs from the longer term partnership.
“The time has come to make decisions, and we await with nice curiosity the alternatives,” he mentioned.
In an announcement, Brexit Secretary David Davis mentioned Brussels was making an attempt to “have it each methods” over the transition.
He mentioned: “Given the extreme work that has taken place this week, it’s stunning to listen to that Michel Barnier is unclear on the UK’s place in relation to the implementation interval”.
The UK was in search of a “time-limited interval that maintains entry to one another’s markets on current phrases” however “for any such interval to work, each side will want a option to resolve disputes within the unlikely occasion that they happen”.
“However there’s a elementary contradiction within the method the Fee is taking.
“Right now they acknowledged option to resolve disputes and infringements is required.
“But on the identical time they dismissed the UK’s push for affordable safeguards to make sure our pursuits are protected. It’s not attainable to have it each methods.”
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer mentioned the feedback ought to come as a “wake-up name” to Mrs Could.
“With just some weeks till the March deadline, it is clear the Authorities isn’t any nearer to reaching an settlement,” he mentioned.
“Theresa Could should finish the infighting inside her Cupboard, drop her reckless purple traces and settle for Labour’s proposals for a transitional deal.
“Which means in search of to stay in a customs union with the EU and throughout the single market throughout that interval. It means we’d abide by the frequent guidelines of each.
“If the Prime Minister fails to satisfy Labour’s calls for then she is placing British jobs and the economic system in danger.”
Plaid Cymru’s Brexit spokesman, Hywel Williams, mentioned: “If Northern Eire stays throughout the EU’s single market and customs union, it turns into an financial necessity for Wales to be given the identical deal.
“Creating a tough border between Wales and Eire would put devastating stress on Wales’s exterior border, and grind our ports to a halt, together with the UK’s second busiest port in Holyhead.”