The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has said the government has no “fear” of moving away from negotiations without a trade deal set to take effect in 2021.
David Frost told the Mail on Sunday The UK will abandon the transition arrangement – which sees it comply with many EU rules – “what could happen” in December.
On the contrary, he said Theresa May’s team “blinked and called her bluff”.
EU negotiator Michelle Barnier said she was “concerned and disappointed” by the lack of concessions from the UK.
He was speaking after informal talks between the pair failed to find progress.
The eighth round of formal negotiations will begin on Tuesday.
The two sides want an agreement to be signed next month by politicians on both sides of the channel by the end of the transition period on December 31.
Differences remain on issues such as fishing and the level of taxpayer support UK businesses will be able to provide once they become independent nations.
Lord Frost told the newspaper: “Everything we are trying to do this year is to make them understand what we mean and that they should take our position seriously.”
Analysis by Chris Mason, political news correspondent for BBC News
The UK left the European Union in February but is in a transition period until the end of December, where very little has really changed.
The time is right to negotiate a long-term arrangement between London and Brussels, and Lord Frost’s language is notorious.
“We are not going to be a client state,” he says.
This is his first interview since the UK left the European Union, while Brussels officials are familiar with his arguments. One described the comment as “surprisingly muscle-flexing”.
Sources there say what they cannot accept is that the UK has the freedom to reduce the number of businesses on the continent in its own single market.
The time for compromise is short. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it has no guarantee.
In an interview, Lord Frost said the desire to control the country’s finances and affairs “should not be controversial”.
“This is going to be an independent country, the same British people voted for and the same will happen later this year,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re scared at all. We want to regain the power to control our borders and that’s the most important thing.”
He said the government was “fully prepared” to trade with the EU without formal deals.
In practice, this would mean taxes on exports and customs checks.
It is a scenario that volatile people on the road say there is a “serious” interruption in chain supply, border management systems are not yet in place and consignments are being cleared to move forward in the EU. .
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