The ‘merciless hand of the king’ could sabotage Brexit talks before they’ve even begun

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Jean Claude Juncker’s chief of staff Martin Selmayr attending talks in February where then British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to renegotiate EU membership terms. Francois Lenoir – Pool/Getty Images
Unnamed British officials have told the Telegraph they are concerned that hardliners in Europe are trying to force Britain into an impossible negotiating position over Brexit that could send the UK crashing out of EU without a deal.
The paper quotes several unnamed sources in a report on Monday, including this British official:
“If the European Commission persists with these ridiculous numbers when the talks begin, then there is a real risk that our side just says ‘forget it, we’ll see you in court’ and the entire process blows up at the outset.”
The ridiculous number in question is €۵۰ billion, the figure the European Union wants Britain to pay as a divorce fee. The controversial number, which covers everything from budget contributions to pension liabilities, is around €۳۰ billion more than UK estimates of a reasonable fee.
Officials fear that EU negotiators are simply using the €۵۰ billion as a negotiating tool to force Britain into the hardest of hard Brexits, crashing out of the EU with no trade deals and potentially locked in bitter legal disputes with European institutions over the exit

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