Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Michel Barnier says Brexit deal needed by October 2018

The European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator has said the work of facilitating the UK's withdrawal from the bloc will be legally complex and politically sensitive.

Michel Barnier said the EU is ready to receive the UK's withdrawal notification and if that is given by the end of March as planned by British Prime Minister Theresa May, negotiations would begin a few weeks later and the process will be a short one.

In his first press conference since taking up the post, he said a deal on the UK leaving the EU could be reached by October 2018.

"Time will be short. It is clear that the period of actual negotiations will be shorter than two years," Mr Barnier said

He also said he is very aware of the importance of the Northern Irish border and will seek a way to preserve the success of the peace process.

Mr Barnier said Article 50 is very clear that there is a two-year deadline for agreement after negotiation and all processes of ratification must be done by March 2019, so agreement is needed by October 2018.

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