Brussels – The European parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said that ongoing negotiations over the terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc were making “slow progress in general.”
Britain, a member of the EU since 1973, is the first country ever to leave the bloc in March 2019, following a referendum last year.
Negotiators from the European Commission and Britain are meeting in Brussels for the third time this week, but so far talks have yielded little result.
“Everybody is of the opinion that a no deal scenario is the worst outcome for everybody,” Verhofstadt said, adding that the option of a disorderly exit seemed to be off the table.
But he warned that progressing to discuss the future relationship between both sides from October, as envisaged by the British government, was looking unlikely.
The EU wants Britain to agree to the terms of its departure first, in particular on citizens’ rights, a financial settlement on what Britain owes the bloc, and the Irish border issue.
Britain wants to begin discussions on London’s post-Brexit relationship with the bloc instead.
Any final deal will have to be approved by the European Parliament.
This week’s negotiations are set to conclude on Thursday afternoon.