Asked what concessions he was prepared to grant the UK, the Frenchman raged: “The UK has decided to leave the EU, it’s not the other way around. The UK is going to leave the EU, the Single Market and the Customs Union, not the other way around.
“So we each have to assume our responsibility and the consequences of our decision and the consequences are substantial. It’s not about punishment, it’s not about revenge.
“Basically we are implementing the decision taken by the UK to leave the EU and unravel 43 years of patiently built relations. I will do all I can to put emotion to one side and stick to the facts, the figures and the legal basis. “
Moments before Mr Barnier had expressed his determination to reach a “fair deal” with the UK and once more laid into claims by Theresa May that the British side could walk away from the talks.
He told reporters: “A fair deal is possible and far better than no deal. That is what I said to David today, that is why we will work all the time with the UK and never against the UK. There will be no hostility on my side, I will display a constructive attitude firmly based on the interests and support of the 27.”
But he warned the UK against expecting some kind of special status outside the EU, saying it would be in the same position as any other third country looking for ties with Brussels.
He said: “There are different forms of cooperation between the EU27 and third countries and in all those scenarios you have to weigh up the rights and the implications, the conditions and the UK knows what the rules are for each of those models.”