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Financial News: EU Brexit Negotiator Barnier Says Parallel Talks "Very

EU Brexit Negotiator Barnier Says Parallel Talks "Very Risky"

04/05/2017 - 07:37:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The British government's desire to hold parallel talks on the withdrawal and the future relationship with the European Union is "a very risk approach", EU's Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier said Wednesday.

Speaking at the European Parliament plenary session on the UK's Article 50 notice in Strasbourg, Barnier said, "To succeed, we need on the contrary to devote the first phase of negotiations exclusively to reaching an agreement on the principles of the exit."

"It is an essential condition to maximize our chances to reach an agreement within two years," he added.

That implies reducing uncertainties for people and businesses regarding their legal rights and the EU borders.

And success depends on three conditions, which according to Barnier are unity, lifting uncertainty and phasing of negotiations.

Echoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's words, Barnier urged the 27 member states to remain united in negotiations with the UK.

He said the European Parliament will have the final word on any deal with the UK.

"If there is no agreement, the consequences will be heavy, for the United Kingdom especially, but also for the Union," Barnier said.

"That is why the no deal scenario is not our scenario."

Barnier also noted that the devil will be in the detail of any deal and stressed on the importance of ensuring that the agreement effectively guarantees the rights of citizens.

The EU will never punish the UK or make it pay a single euro in excess of what it owes, the EU top official said.

The second phase of Brexit talks will be devoted to scoping future relations and discussing necessary transitory arrangements, Barnier said.

"The sooner we agree on the principles of an orderly withdrawal, the sooner we can prepare our future relationship in trade, but also in security and defence," he said.

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