Brexit negotiators in Britain and Europe have embarked on a campaign of brinksmanship rather than talking about doing a deal.
The EU is determined not to open the trade talks so badly wanted by British Prime Minister Theresa May and her government until a suitable exit payment is agreed.
They also want a deal on expat rights and the Northern Ireland border with the Republic.
Britain is refusing to offer more than £20 billion.
The gulf is vast. The EU is reported to want more than £50 billion, while some have speculated the cost could be tens of billions higher.
The EU says Britain has 14 days to agree the payment or trade talks will be put back to next year.
Deal or no deal?
But the British resolve seems to be holding.
May and her team say Britain has made enough concessions and it’s time the EU made an offer.
Their team is saying Brexit is a problem for Britain and of the country’s own making and the solutions should come from within – and the clock is ticking down.
All the time, the feeling is growing in the UK that if a deal can be done with Europe, it comes with too high a price, so no deal may be better.
After all, Britain can go back for a trade deal after Brexit with a stronger hand because the EU will suffer economically if a no deal is forced as well.
“We will be ready to move on to the second phase already in December,” said EU Council President Donald Tusk, after meeting May at an EU summit in Sweden.
“But to do that we need to see more progress from the UK side.
“If there is not sufficient progress by then, I will not propose new guidelines on transition and the future relationship at the December European Council. I made it very clear to the Prime Minister May that this progress needs to happen at the beginning of December at the latest.”
May said both sides should work together and restated her desire to see a ‘deep and special’ relationship between Britain and Europe after Brexit.
EU leaders meet on December 14 to decide whether to open trade talks with the UK.