Critics argue EU negotiator Mr Barnier is pushing his luck with his latest remarks, which actually go further than the negotiating mandate handed to him by EU member states. This states the “envisaged partnership should affirm the Parties’ commitment to ensuring a high level of personal data protection”.
However, Mr Barnier is now insisting on a role for the European Court of Justice in overseeing future data sharing between Brussels and Britain – something which is unlikely to be acceptable to Brexiteers within Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party.
UK negotiators led by David Frost have already rejected the idea of allowing the ECJ to have any say in domestic laws after the end of the year – meaning Mr Barnier’s latest pronouncements could potentially be the straw which breaks the camel’s back.
Didier Reynders, the EU’s justice commissioner, insisted the need for a link between the future relationship and a data adequacy decision.
He said: “When it comes to data transfer with a member that is leaving, the UK, we want to make sure that in any Brexit agreement there is the proper application of the rules of the GDPR both on the European continent and in the UK.”
Commission vice-president Vera Jourova added: “I cannot predict now either it will be easy and without any further negotiations needed for the possible adequacy decision because we do not know if the UK will introduce some changes in their national legislation, which might deviate from the general line of the GDPR.”
Any successful deal already facing huge hurdles.
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Many Brexiteers are unfazed by the idea of walking away from the negotiating table.
Speaking last month, Robert Oulds, director-general of the Bruge Group, told Express.co.uk failure to agree a deal would hit Brussels harder.
He said: “They can’t afford to be losing market access to Brexit Britain.
“They are in a very weak position and we know that.
“They are hoping Britain will extend the transition but, of course, that will not be an option quite soon.
“At some point, they are just going to have to sit down and negotiate in the best interests of their citizens.”
He predicted: “It will be another victory for Brexit Britain.
“We will say to them this is what your leaders want – and we are certain what most people in the UK want.”
Also last month, Mr Frost and Mr Barnier exchanged terse letters illustrating the gulf between them.
Mr Frost said the EU’s current plan “contains novel and unbalanced proposals which would bind this country to EU law or standards”.