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Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier © Getty Images

Barnier: Brexit negotiations to start “day after UK elections”


The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said that negotiations between the EU and the UK should start “as soon as possible, the day after the [UK] elections,” which will be held on 8 June.

“We want to conclude a deal with the UK, not against the UK,” Barnier told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, adding that there would not be much time to conclude a good deal.

“We have to create the foundations of ongoing trust that we need to build the future relationship with the UK,” he said.

“We are going to have to unravel 44 years of integration … no one should underestimate any of the consequences, we need to tell the truth to the citizens.”

Also speaking in Strasbourg, European Council president Donald Tusk said EU countries would update the Brexit guidelines once negotiations move beyond the ‘divorce’ deal with the UK.

“We will make our guidelines more precise when the time comes, namely when sufficient progress in the first phase is achieved,” Tusk said.

The guidelines adopted by the 27 member states last month are the key points the bloc wants to settle with the UK before moving on to discuss the future relations.

EU countries said that ‘sufficient progress’ needed to be achieved on guaranteeing citizens’ rights, settling the UK’s financial obligations and ensuring that no hard border is established between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The governments of the member states would decide when to move from divorce negotiations and on to trade talks.

Based on the guidelines, EU ministers will adopt the more detailed ‘negotiating principles’ on the key issues on 22 May, completing the bloc’s Brexit preparations.

Pan European Networks Ltd