Michel Barnier on Brexit: Cherry picking is not an option
EU's chief Brexit negotiator expects a Brexit deal to be done by October 2018, says no negotiations without notification.
Michel Barnier | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has given his first press conference since taking on the role.
Delivering his statement in both French and English, Barnier, the former European internal market and services Commissioner, stressed that Brexit must be a "clear and orderly" process, rejecting the notions of 'hard' or 'soft' Brexit.
The French official said, "The EU is ready to receive Britain's notification", but reiterated the Commission's stance that there would be no talks until the UK government triggers article 50.
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Barnier added that it was now up to the UK to tell the EU "what it wants and what it is ready to accept," acknowledging that the work to be done was "legally complex and politically sensitive."
He also stressed that, "Being a member of the EU comes with rights and benefits. Third countries can never have the same rights and benefits, since they are not subject to the same obligations."
In addition, "The single market and its four freedoms are indivisible - cherry picking is not an option."
Barnier said he expects the negotiations to last 18 months - shorter than the two year period laid out in article 50 - with an agreement reached by October 2018. This, said Barnier, will then give the Commission, Council and EU and UK Parliaments time to ratify the deal.
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