Brussels has released data showing that Britain will experience the weakest growth in the EU over the next two years, putting pressure on Theresa May for her approval of a Brexit deal.
Officials of the European Commission warned that the British economy would collapse even in a smooth Brexit, while a disorderly retreat would drag the country's forecasts further down.
The move to highlight the dreadful consequences of a chaotic Brexit comes just as British negotiators try to convince their Brussels colleagues that they are prepared to both enter into a withdrawal agreement and make an agreement on a future relationship.
But the Prime Minister is now also under heavy pressure from her own ministers – before a Monday expected Crunch Cabinet – and her DUP government partners to not admit too much in negotiations.
As the talks reached a critical moment in both London and Brussels, an EU Commissioner suggested that an agreement would probably not be signed by the Heads of State and Government of the blockade by December, leaving little time until that House is approved by the House of Commons before Christmas.
In its autumn forecast, the Commission estimated the UK's growth this year at just 1.3 percent, compared to 1.7 percent in 2017.
It expects growth to decline to 1.2 percent in 2019, the year the UK leaves the EU, and again in 2020.
No country in the EU, with the exception of Italy, is expected to show weaker growth in 2019 than Brussels compared to Brussels. However, Britain's projected output in 2020 is the worst of the current 28 states of the bloc.
The UK forecasts are also worse than the Office of Budgetary Responsibility forecasts, which forecast 1.6 percent growth in the 2019 budget last week, followed by 1.4 percent in 2020.
The Commission also stressed that its downbeat prospects were based on a "benign" scenario of British trade, while the rest of the European Union continues uninterrupted.
Consumer confidence surveys pointed to weak household spending, adding that Brexit's uncertainty was likely to keep business investment "muted".
Net trade is expected to continue to weigh on UK growth, and the UK unemployment rate will rise to 4.7 percent by 2020 (today: 4 percent).
The Commission also expected a slowdown in euro-zone growth between 2018 and 2020 due to increasing global uncertainty, the trade wars of Donald Trump and rising international oil prices.
However, the implications for Brexit and its aftermath were clear: A separate official EU document, previewing at a council meeting on Monday, said parts of the resignation agreement in Ireland still required further negotiations, in particular a tough one To avoid border.
Negotiators were deadlocked as to what will happen to the Irish border if no new trade relationship has been agreed between the UK and the EU until the end of the transitional period in December 2020.
Under these circumstances, Brussels would like at least Northern Ireland to remain in the EU Customs Union until a trade agreement is set in stone to keep the border with the Republic open. However, Ms. May wishes for a solution whereby the entire UK remains in Customs agreement for a limited time.
Tory Brexiteers demands that Britain unilaterally give up this proposed backstop agreement, but Ms May has argued that this could leave the UK's decision open for judgment and instead seeks to convince the Eurosceptics of the Cabinet that this the only legally permissible approach is a specially designed "verification mechanism" built into the backstop that would allow Britain to make a joint decision with the EU.
However, it is far from clear whether Ms May's own Cabinet Ministers are convinced. When international trade secretary Liam Fox was asked on Thursday if a "mutually agreed withdrawal" from the contact point was acceptable, he suggested that the "referendum of our electorate" issued in the referendum not be fulfilled.
"This decision can not be given to third parties – that must be an issue that can determine a sovereign British government," he insisted.
Cabinet members have called for a single source of legal advice that the government has received on the mechanism The Independent The ministers want to be sure that, from a legal perspective, there are no other credible options.
The cabinet insider said: "The legal advice has not yet been given.
"There is a feeling that the ministers have received a verbal instruction, but they want to see it on paper. It is known that verbal fonts change. "
Another cabinet-level source said, "We need to see in black and white that there is no other way. If it turns out that there is one, and what the Prime Minister said is a political and not a legal argument, then there might be disagreements on Monday. "
Ms May will also have to convince her Northern Ireland government partners that the review mechanism and backstop are generally in line with her needs.
But DUP Deputy Sammy Wilson poured cold water on Thursday The Independent"The verification mechanism is not something that can be left behind at their party, let alone ourselves.
"The final decision is partly in the hands of the EU, and that is never something Britain will benefit from.
"The EU will always find reasons and excuses to maintain its continued support, and the idea of the mechanism itself is an excuse to indefinitely stay in touch – that is why the full legal advice of the ministers and was overtaken by us. "
He described the way in which the negotiations were treated as "incompetent" and added: "[The PM] seems to think that the deal she has to make is a deal with the EU, unaware that she has to bring her own party.
"It is totally focused on the domestic difficulties, it does not come in the space defined by it, which requires a completely different way of thinking."
The Independent has launched its # FinalSay campaign to demand that voters vote in the final Brexit deal.