According to a French Member of the European Parliament for the south-west of France, Alain Lamassoure, the EU's Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, wants a satisfactory Brexit deal to succeed the current President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Mr. Lamassoure is a lifelong friend and colleague of Mr. Barnier's, so there is credibility behind his claim. However, if the EU's Chief Negotiator is serious about succeeding Mr. Juncker by securing a good deal with the UK, he has a funny way of showing it. If the talks collapse, then his dream of becoming President of the European Commission is over.

If the EU had its priorities sorted, trade would be the most crucial issue in these negotiations

The European Commission has purposefully constructed the Brexit timetable so that it fails. As discussed before, it is impossible to determine what the UK-Irish border will look like if there is no agreement on trade. If the EU had its priorities sorted, trade would be the most crucial issue in these negotiations. Businesses on both sides of the English Channel are anxious that they will not be able to exchange goods and services if there is no trade deal. Yet the European Commission is more interested in a divorce bill as opposed to trade.

If the EU's Chief Negotiator does not change his stance, the talks will fail.

The European Council is meeting next month to decide how much progress has been made in the Brexit discussions so far. Brexit Secretary David Davis has persuaded his EU counterpart to ask the Council to bring forward trade negotiations. If the latter is unsuccessful in persuading them to do so, it will be back to the same stalemate as before.

£100 billion is a ridiculous fee

The exit bill figure that Mr. Barnier has demanded so far is inadequate. £100 billion is a ridiculous fee. There has been no legal justification for the figure and it is not clear what that sum will pay for. The Government has accepted that it will need to pay a fee to leave, but it is not fair to taxpayers that they have to fork out for such a substantial bill without any reason why.

There is a strong case for the UK to trade on World Trade Organization rules. This would mean both Britain and Brussels would have to pay a 3 per cent tariff to trade with each other, which is not a large amount. It would also mean the Government can leave the trading bloc quickly, restore sovereignty to Parliament and forge new trade agreements with developed countries. And with the EU showing no imagination or flexibility in these negotiations, this outcome is becoming increasingly likely.

If Mr. Barnier's bid to become President of the European Commission is dependent on Brexit, then he won't be replacing Mr. Juncker in the near future. These discussions are destined to fail.