The Tory MP accused EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his team in Brussels of caring more about their own personal positions within the EU than the post-Brexit future of European workers. Speaking on Channel 4 News on Friday evening, Mr Bridgen said: “The problem is we’ve not been negotiating with the people who we actually trade with.
“The countries we trade with in the European Union have given a negotiating position to the EU in what would be clear if we end up with no deal is that the EU negotiators care more about their own jobs than the jobs of German car workers.”
The Belgian MEP hit back: “I beg to disagree with the latest statement.
“If we are careful about not submitting EU companies to competition, it’s precisely because we want to preserve jobs and the economy.
“By the way, I do not have the impression that the British economy was especially hamstrung when for 45 plus years it was a member of the European Union.
“I think that the British economy has prospered when the country was a member of the European Union.
“So that statement is a bit misleading.”
READ MORE: Brexit talks pause over ‘ridiculous’ EU 10 YEAR fishing demands
Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen are to hold emergency talks as negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal go down to the wire.
With time for an agreement rapidly running out, the two sides’ chief negotiators announced on Friday they were putting the talks on “pause” to allow political leaders to take stock.
In a joint statement following the latest round of negotiations in London, the UK’s Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier said the conditions for an agreement had still not been met.
After months of circling around the same issues, they said “significant divergences” remained over fisheries, the “level playing field” rules on fair competition and the enforcement mechanism for any deal.
While a series of deadlines have come and gone, this weekend is being seen as crucial if there is to be an agreement before the current Brexit transition period comes to an end at the end of the month.
He pointedly called for the negotiators to be given the “space” they needed to conclude their discussions.
Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen are expected to speak by telephone on Saturday afternoon.
EU leaders are due to meet on Thursday for a two-day summit in Brussels – their last scheduled gathering of the year – when they could sign-off on any agreement.
Time then has to be found for both Houses of Parliament in the UK and the European parliament to ratify it before the transition period expires.
If there is no agreement the UK will leave the European single market and customs union on December 31 and begin trading with the bloc on World Trade Organisation terms, with the imposition of tariffs and quotas.