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EU sources have warned now “is not the time for side negotiations on mini deals” as it ramps up Brexit preparations for Britain to unshackle the bloc without a deal. But Britons furiously mocked the Union, accusing them of making “spiteful threats” and warned Britain would “rise above” the, to “find its own way” on the global stage.

One commented: “Protectionism vs fair trade. Brits will rise above these spiteful threats and find its own way in the lucrative markets of the rest of the world.” Another said: “Leave NOW and talk later.”

A reader posted: “As far as ‘mini-deals’ are concerned – no need to be concerned.

“There are plenty of other countries willing to make MAXI-deals with a truly free and sovereign UK.”

One said: “All these things that are designed to hurt the UK will also hurt the EU.

“They are so childish that they are happy to cut off their nose to spite their face. We have been in a far worse state than this and survived.”

Another added: “The EU is without a doubt a disrespectful bunch of vindictive, self centred, threatening bullies.

“They deserve to fail in a grand manner, preferably the French first, followed closely by the Germans. The longed for sight of the demolition of the Brussels dictatorship cannot be too soon.”

Others urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to walk away without a deal.

A Express.co.uk reader said: “Fair enough, that’s their prerogative – pull the plug on the negotiations now and get on with preparing for a no deal.”

More threats from the EU who didn’t care a jot when they wrecked the UK’s fishing industry but are squealing now that the boot is on the other foot.

“Ignore the punishment plot and end the one-way talks (threats) now.”

It comes as time is fast running out for Brexit negotiations as the end of the transition period on December 31 nears.

Face-to-face negotiations were temporarily suspended on Thursday after a member of Michel Barnier’s EU team tested positive for COVID-19.

The three main outstanding issues – fisheries, state aid rules and governance arrangements – were still to be resolved.

Stumbling blocks have meant a number of influential EU states have called on the European Commission to significantly ramp up the preparations for a no-deal Brexit at the end of the year, according to Brussels sources.

In a private meeting after the latest round of talks, senior diplomats insisted any measures must be unilateral and not help Britain avert potential disruptions in the New Year.

A source said: “We need to revive our contingency planning from last year. This needs to go through the European Parliament and Council – time is getting tight.

“It is not time for side negotiations on mini deals.”

A second source added: “A large number of member states called on the Commission to publish the contingency proposals as soon as possible.

“We are now in the late stage of the negotiations and there is possibility of accidents in the last six weeks.”

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