German MEP accuses Barnier of trying to mess up Brexit negotiations

Helen Cahill
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The UK and the EU enter into negotiations this week (Source: Getty)

A German MEP has slammed the EU's Brexit negotiators, saying they want to "make a mess out of this whole unhappy situation".

Hans-Olaf Henkel, a member of the Liberal Conservative Reformers (LKR) party in the European parliament, has accused the EU of wanting to make an example out of the UK as it leaves the bloc.

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Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, and Guy Verhoftstadt, the European parliament's Brexit negotiator, were the main focus of Henkel's attack.

Writing in the Times, Henkel said:

Mr Verhofstadt now wants to punish the British, full stop. He says he doesn't want to, but I'm afraid he does. My impression is that Mr Barnier wants to do the same. The reason is simple. They would seek to make sure that Brexit is such a catastrophe that no country dares to take the step of leaving the EU again.

Barnier has said that he is not looking to punish the UK, but has been clear that the Brexit vote will have "consequences". He has been particularly strong on the issue of the UK's so-called "Brexit bill", saying that the sum the UK will pay must be determined before talks on a future UK-EU relationship can start.

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