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UK offers Brexit mini-deals to side-step Brussels

Many EU27 capitals have been approached by London with offers of arrangements that would ameliorate the impact of a no-deal Brexit on both sides | Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

UK offers Brexit mini-deals to side-step Brussels

EU officials see the move by London as an attempt at divide and rule.

By and

9/10/19, 5:28 PM CET

Updated 9/11/19, 5:08 AM CET

The U.K. government is trying to bypass Brexit negotiations with the European Commission by proposing so-called mini deals to national capitals directly, diplomats say.

Many EU27 capitals have been approached by London with offers of deals or bilateral arrangements that would ameliorate the impact of a no-deal Brexit on both sides, according to two diplomats. The move has infuriated Commission officials, including EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who are concerned that a patchwork of partial deals could be more beneficial to the U.K. than the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May’s government last year.

A spokesperson for the U.K.’s Department for Exiting the EU said it is “untrue” the U.K. is trying to bypass talks with the Commission.

At a meeting of Brexit EU27 officials last week, almost “all delegations mentioned that they were being approached by the U.K. on several issues,” said one of the diplomats. These included topics such as data protection, plus social security benefits and health entitlements of British citizens living in other parts of the EU.

Germany is among the countries approached by London with an offer of a mini deal on social issues,

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