UK Government living in a 'fantasy' over Brexit, EU official says
The EU insider said the UK Government had to accept things will change from March 2019
The UK is living in a "fantasy" where it believes it can retain all the benefits of being in the European Union even after it leaves, according to a Brussels official.
The unnamed insider told journalists that the Brexit negotiations will continue to stall unless UK negotiators accept that things will change forever after 30 March next year.
But a British official hit back by accusing the EU of "trying to insult us".
Speaking after the latest round of talks between UK and European officials ended, the Brussels source told the BBC: "I'm a bit concerned because the precondition for fruitful discussions has to be the UK accepts the consequences of its own choices."
"The sooner we move beyond 'let's just keep everything we have now'… the sooner we move away from this fantasy, then the quicker we can make progress."
On the vexed issue of how to maintain an open border in Ireland after Brexit, the official said "we are running out of time" and that a solution was no closer to being found.
A UK official, speaking on condition of anonymity, dismissed the EU's criticisms out of hand.
He said: "We presented seven papers this week, in the interests of resolving difficult issues in the interests of both sides, so the claim we aren't providing enough detail is laughable.
"The risk is that, if they follow down this track, putting conditions on our unconditional offers and trying to insult us, the EU will end up with a relationship with its third biggest economy and largest security partner that lets down millions of citizens in the EU and UK."
The move comes just days after the UK Government was criticised following reports that officials had been told to shelve no-deal planning
With up to 10,000 EU citizens employed in food and drink sector, the Scottish Government has launched support services to help EU citizens remain in Scotland after Brexit
Theresa May is heading to Berlin and Paris for talks with Merkel and Macron ahead of Wednesday's emergency European Council summit
Solicitor general Robert Buckland spoke out as negotiations between the UK Government and opposition are expected to continue