British and European Union negotiators were locked in a tug of war this week, with the economic bloc being adamant that the cost involved with UK's exit must be decided before any future deal can be considered.
The British government has produced a series of so-called "position papers" to set out its stance on major subjects involved with Brexit in the lead up to the third round of ongoing discussions, which opened in Brussels yesterday.
While Britain is determined that any talks of an exit strategy must move in parallel with negotiating a future trade deal with the remaining 27 members of the bloc, the EU has been adamant that the so-called "divorce" and the costs involved with it must be thrashed out before any future deal can be considered.
"We believe the EU needs to show more imagination and flexibility when it comes to these discussions," British Prime Minister Theresa May's official Downing Street spokesperson said today.
"There are lots of issues where we believe you can't separate withdrawal from future relationship, and that's what we're seeking to agree... that we can move on to talk about our future relationship," the spokesperson said.
The statement came as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a conference of EU ambassadors in Brussels today that Britain's efforts in the negotiation process were not "satisfactory".
Speaking in French, he said: "We need to be crystal clear that we will commence no negotiations on the new relationship particularly the new economic and trade relationship between the UK and the EU before all these questions are resolved that is to say the divorce between the EU and the UK." On the series of position papers produced by the UK's Department for Exiting the European Union, he added: "I would like to be clear that I did read with the requisite attention all the papers produced by Her Majesty's government and none of those is actually satisfactory."
His tough stance comes in the wake of the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, telling a press conference yesterday that he was "concerned" at the progress so far and that the UK needed to begin "negotiating seriously".
"We need UK positions on all separation issues. This is necessary to make sufficient progress. We must start negotiating seriously," he said.
The EU wants "sufficient progress" in three key "separation areas" by October for negotiations to move onto the subject of the future UK-EU relationship.
The areas chosen by the EU are citizen rights, Northern Ireland's border, and the divorce bill owed by the UK.
The UK s Brexit secretary, David Davis, said his team was ready to "roll up their sleeves" to get down to business and called for more "flexibility" from the EU27 in his opening statement that kick-started the latest round of talks Brussels yesterday.
He said: "We want to lock in the points where we agree, unpick the areas where we disagree, and make further progress on the whole range of issues. "But in order to do that, we'll require flexibility and imagination from both sides something I think the [European] Council has asked for on some subjects."
The UK government hopes the next round of talks, scheduled for September, will achieve sufficient progress to convince EU leaders that Brexit is on track at the European Council meeting set for October.
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