In her statement on Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May accused EU politicians and officials of deliberately seeking to influence the U.K.’s general election and claimed that some EU officials want the Brexit talks to fail. May condemned the “threats against Britain” and pleaded not to let “the bureaucrats of Brussels run over us.” She continued by stating that:
“In the last few days we have seen just how tough these talks are likely to be. (…) “All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election on June 8.”
The statement by May did not come as a surprise. Earlier this week, the EU raised its opening demand for Britain’s Brexit bill to an upfront gross payment of up to €100bn (instead of the previous €60bn), according to Financial Times analysis of new stricter demands driven by France and Germany. Before the sudden increase, May already rejected the notion of an exit bill at a recent dinner with Mr Juncker, saying any financial terms would be tied to securing a trade deal by 2019. After that dinner, Juncker said:
“I’m leaving Downing Street 10 times more sceptical than I was before.”
And on Tuesday, May promised to be a “bloody difficult woman” in talks. In full EU fashion, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, toned the number down and said no figure will be set until the end of the Brexit process.
May ended by stating that:
“If we don’t get the negotiation right, the consequences will be serious and they will be felt by ordinary working people across the country. (…) If we let the bureaucrats of Brussels run over us we will lose the chance to build a fairer society with real opportunity for all.”
Officially, negotiations are set to start after the British elections on June 8, but it is clear for all that they’ve already started.