Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, has criticized the EU’s decision to publish a document that shows the bloc has the power to restrict UK access to the EU single market during a transition period after Brexit.
“I do not think it was in good faith to publish a document with frankly discourteous language and actually implying that they could arbitrarily terminate, in effect, the implementation period,” Davis told Sky News on Thursday.
“That’s not what the aim of this exercise is, it’s not in good faith, we think it was unwise to publish that,” he added. “I have to say I thought that document was hardly a legal document; it was a political document.”
Davis was troubled by the tone of the document, as well as specific proposals that would allow Brussels to impose trade penalties on London without recourse to the European court of justice.
Davis’s remarks were the first time Britain has clashed so openly with Brussels since Britain’s general election campaign last year, when UK Prime Minister Theresa May claimed that hostile briefings from Brussels were aimed at affecting the result of the vote.
May’s inner Brexit cabinet appeared to have made little progress on Thursday in settling the question of what kind of future relationship Britain will seek with the EU after it exits the bloc.
Brexit talks with the EU are due to resume on Friday in Brussels, where EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier will give his assessment of progress in a press conference.
Economic forecasts of the impact of Brexit have become a fraught topic.
Brexit could cost the UK almost 500,000 jobs and nearly 50 billion pounds ($68 billion) in investment by 2030, according to a study commissioned by the mayor of London.
Nearly half of British voters support holding a second referendum on whether the UK should remain or leave the EU amid growing concerns about the government’s Brexit negotiations with the bloc, a poll released in January by The Guardian newspaper shows.