EU’s Brexit negotiator warns Britain on time, transition

The European Union’s chief negotiator warned London again on Tuesday that Brexit negotiations were not going well enough to guarantee that the two sides would reach a divorce deal and an agreement on post-Brexit transition in time.

Britain is due to become the first country ever to leave the EU in March 2019, and risks crashing out with no rules in place to carry on doing business with the bloc if London and the other 27 members of the Union fail to reach an agreement in October.

“The clock is ticking, time is going by, we are pressed for time,” Michel Barnier told a news conference.

“I am worried by the time, which is short between now and autumn. In a few months, we will have to agree with the United Kingdom about their orderly exit from the European Union as they wish.”

Barnier said there were “significant points of disagreement” on the post-Brexit transition period, which the EU wants to end at the end of 2020.

He said London was looking to keep it open-ended, though British officials said their request had always been for a ‘strictly time-limited’ adjustment period after Brexit.
Source: Reuters (Additional reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska)