The European Union’s chief Brexit negotatior made the warning while briefing the bloc’s 28 European commissioners on the state of play of negotations as talks appear to once again stall.
A Commission spokesman revealed Mr Barnier’s admission to senior officials and confirmed Secretary-General Martin Selmayr also discussed the bloc’s no-deal preparation.
A joint UK-EU publication was due for release today outlining plans for a future trading and security partnership going forward.
But, talks have entered a so-called “tunnel” where EU officials have been told to remain quite and not risk setting fires in the tunnel because “fires in tunnels are dangerous”
Theresa May and fellow European leaders will gather in Brussels next week for a European Council summit, which EU diplomats were quietly confident of a big chunk of the Brexit deal being completed.
EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters: “Michel Barnier and his team are working day and night to reach a deal but we are not there yet.”
He added the UK and EU must “keep working together in the future” on security, regardless of the Brexit negotiations.
“Our plans are defined by our good will to continue our cooperation in the future, intelligence exchange and depending even more on trust and sharing the same concerns.”
British commisisoner Julian King made a similar admission, insisting Mr Barnier “is doing his job and we’re doing our job”.
He admit: “There are some issues that will still need to be addressed.
“As we have said publicly there’s a strong shared self-interest in maintaining cooperation in security if that prove to be possible.”
Downing Street has also entered a similar period of silence, having avoided making new Irish backstop plans public.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has also halt plans to travel to Brussels to meet Mr Barnier ahead of next week’s summit.
Despite the worrying hush, EU officials insist Brexit talks remain “continuous” despite the absence of Mr Raab.
Theresa May’s EU Sherpa Olly Robbins has been in the Belgian capital for technical negotiations.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is preparing to bind her Cabinet into further compromise ahead of briefing European leaders.
She will hold extended talks with her top team on Tuesday on the eve of her hopeful plans to brief her new Irish border plans.
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