EU officials ‘fear UK is bugging Brexit talks’
The EU’s deputy chief negotiator reportedly said suggestions that British spies had penetrated secret meetings ‘could not be excluded’.
Brussels has refused to deny reports that its Brexit negotiators fear they are being bugged by British spies.
Officials raised security concerns after the UK obtained sensitive documents “within hours” of them being discussed, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Sabine Weyand, the EU’s deputy chief Brexit negotiator, reportedly told officials at a European Council working party on exit talks that “it could not be excluded” that British intelligence had penetrated their meetings.
British negotiators were said to have obtained the contents of a slide presentation that set out the European Commission’s negative economic assessments of UK plans to remain in a single market for goods.
The contents were shared on July 5, the day before Prime Minister Theresa May gathered the Cabinet at Chequers to sign off her Brexit blueprint.
Hours after the presentation, the UK lobbied at the “highest level” to block plans to publish the slides, according to the newspaper.
A European Commission spokesman told journalists in Brussels at a regular briefing: “The commission’s position today is that we cannot comment on this press report.”
It comes as Brexit talks resumed in Brussels between UK and EU officials.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier are not involved in the latest round of discussions, which are focused on the Irish border and future relations, and are due to finish on Friday.
The spokesman said: “As this week’s round is at technical level there won’t be a meeting between Michel Barnier and Dominic Raab.
“We will confirm in due course whether a subsequent meeting has been arranged.”