The talks have been ongoing for three years now, and appear hinged over issues such as fishing rights – with the UK wishing to “take back control” of its waters.
But Estonian MEP Jaak Madison accused the EU’s negotiators, who are led by Michel Barnier, of focusing too much on fishing, insisting that the UK had been faring “pretty fine” since it officially left the bloc earlier this year.
He said: “The EU is trying to play as a tough guy, but at the same time couldn’t manage any normal deal.
“It’s just talking about fisheries.”
Mr Madison, a eurosceptic, added: “It’s pretty clear and understandable that if there is no deal before the end of the year, the EU is losing much more than the UK is doing.
“In some way, I’m pretty happy with that, so congratulations to Mr Johnson – thank you.”
The row over trade will reach its climax on Sunday, with Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen set to confirm what the outcome will be.
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“And I will go to Brussels, I will go to Paris, I will go to Berlin, I will go to wherever to try and get this home and get a deal.
“What I told the Cabinet this evening is to get on and make those preparations. We’re not stopping talks, we’ll continue to negotiate but looking at where we are I do think it’s vital that everyone now gets ready for that Australian option [no deal].”
According to some sources, the talks have been stalled by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is “determined to make Britain crawl across broken glass” as opposed to reaching an agreement.
The insider close to the UK’s negotiating team added: “We thought this would be the moment.
“But they just weren’t interested. They won’t accept that Brexit means setting our own rules.
“We could set up all sorts of dispute recognition systems to make sure the new plan was fair, but the root of the problem seems to be Merkel herself: she doesn’t trust Boris.”