After the conclusion of this week’s round of Brexit negotiations between the government of the United Kingdom and the EU, the likelihood of a mutually beneficial deal in the next months seems to be decreasing by the day. If Thursday’s joint press conference of the leading negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier is anything to go by, then the two sides are further apart than ever.

Barnier: British 'nostalgia'

Barnier made it clear that in his opinion no “decisive progress” had been made and put the blame for this firmly on the UK government. Its negotiation strategy of advocating a new kind of customs arrangement that would see the EU recognise UK standards while at the same time giving the UK the right to negotiate its own trade agreements would undermine the EU’s single market.

This, Barnier claimed, was tantamount to “nostalgia” on behalf of the British government, whose various position papers on issues relating to Brexit the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, had also criticised earlier this week.

This development clearly signifies a strong level of exasperation on behalf of leading EU politicians, who are continuing to resort to ever more aggressive public rhetoric when engaging with Brexit. Britain’s demands are seen as unrealistic and its ideas and suggestions half-baked and not viable.

Davis: Britain is 'flexible and pragmatic'

Brexit secretary Davis, however, dismissed these accusations, while defending his government’s approach of not accepting the Brexit bill, but rather scrutinizing it in the British taxpayer’s interest. He hit back at the EU, making it clear that it was the UK who was being more “flexible and pragmatic” than their European counterparts.

At the same time, he struck a more positive note, pointing to agreements reached in other areas like the continuation of the European health insurance card for those British citizens already living in the EU.

Nevertheless, the progress on the issues of Brexit bill, Ireland / Northern Ireland and citizen’s rights appears to be rather incremental, with the main conflicts far from settled.

While the UK still isn’t entirely clear about its objectives and has so far failed to convincingly show how to achieve them, the EU has proven itself the dogmatic, bureaucratic and intransigent organisation that first convinced Britons to vote to leave it. Both sides would be well advised to realise that Brexit is not going to be a success and harm all involved if negotiators and governments do not get their act together and genuinely commit to finding compromise and a settlement that both sides can support. The clock is still ticking, reminding all involved that it is their duty to act in the interests of their people and not engage in petty squabbles, unhelpful interventions and unachievable policies.