The EU has totally missed the point of Brexit if it thinks it will retain some supervision over British actions, the UK's chief negotiator said on Monday.
"To think that we might accept EU supervision on so-called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing", the British negotiator David Frost said in a speech he gave on a visit to Brussels.
"It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us – to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has," Frost added.
The EU has said it wants the best possible trade relationship with the UK but only if there is a level playing field for businesses on anything from state subsidies to environmental standards, and is insisting on clear checks to enforce it.
"The point of the whole project" of Brexit is to reject any EU meddling on rules and regulations, Frost said during his speech, given at Brussels' ULB university.
He added that there was no way that Britain would seek a longer transition period than 11 months to reach a deal, despite such a timespan being considered next to impossible for a trade agreement between the UK and the EU.
On January 1st, 2021, he said, the UK will "recover [its] political and economic independence in full." "Why would we want to postpone it?" he asked.
Frost's comments indicate that the UK might be considering a "no deal Brexit" outcome, in which the country reaches the end of the transition and leaves the bloc without a trade deal, rather than compromise on key issues.
The European Union has been bracing for difficult times ahead. Over the weekend, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that the EU and the UK will "be seriously at each other's throats" during the negotiations.
The EU has said that to maintain close commercial relations, the UK will need to adhere to EU rules, while Frost made it clear that setting its own rules clearly trumps a deal.
The EU has said that the UK setting its own rules would be possible but would make a trade deal less advantageous.
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has insisted that the bloc will not agree to any British trade deal just to avoid a costly, chaotic "no-deal" at the start of 2021.
The negotiations are to start at the beginning of next month.
"There's a great deal of grandstanding here in which both sides draw their positions": Holger Hestermeyer of King's College London on Euronews Tonight. Watch the interview in the video player above.