UK Brexit Minister slams EU 'no deal' guidance: report

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Britain's Brexit Minister David Davis has criticised the EU for preparing for a no-deal scenario once the UK leaves the bloc, according to a letter published on Tuesday by the Financial Times.

Writing to British Prime Minister Theresa May last month, Davis criticised the European Union for adopting measures in the event a deal is not reached before the UK's exit in March 2019.

He also took aim at EU agencies for issuing guidance to businesses on the post-Brexit landscape, covering everything from company law to transport, without mentioning the possibility of a transition period.

The EU's approach "is frequently damaging to UK interests", the Brexit minister wrote, according to extracts published by the Financial Times.

May's spokesman declined to comment on the report.

Davis told the prime minister he would appeal to the European Commission to change its guidance and warned the EU's current stance amounted to "potential breaches of the UK's rights as a member state".

A legal challenge would however be high-risk and lengthy, Davis said he had been told by advisers.

Brussels rejected Davis's complaint that Britain was being treated differently to other EU members.

"In the European Commission we are somehow surprised that the UK is surprised that we're preparing for a scenario announced by the UK government itself," Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told journalists on Tuesday.

While Britain is pinning its hopes on a two-year transition deal after it leaves the bloc in 2019, leading to a trade deal with the EU, May last year said no deal "is better than a bad deal".

Referring to May's speech, Schinas said: "We take these words by the prime minister very seriously so it is only natural that in this house we also prepare for every eventuality."

The letter was described as "extraordinary" by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

"A government intent on leaving EU and continually talking about prospect of 'no deal' moaning about EU preparing to treat UK as a non member and for the possibility of 'no deal'.

"Unbelievable -- or rather, increasingly believable from this inept UK government," she wrote on Twitter.

© 2018 AFP

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