The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has appealed to Theresa May to work with the union during the negotiations and not against it, following the prime minister’s claim that Brussels had sought to attack both her leadership and British interests.
Addressing the European parliament in Strasbourg, Barnier cautioned against an aggressive approach to the talks due to start after the UK’s general election on 8 June, the result of which he said he hoped would bring stability.
“I certainly don’t intend to have no deal or a bad deal,” Barnier told MEPs. “We want to conclude a deal with the UK, not against the UK. In fact I would very much appreciate that on the UK side you could find the same spirit to reach a deal with the EU, not against the EU.”
Earlier this month the prime minister claimed the EU was “lining up” against Britain. She also accused Brussels of seeking to influence the result of the general election in order to weaken her negotiating hand.
Barnier dismissed suggestions that Brussels was seeking to punish the UK for leaving the union, or create problems for its government. He said the prime minister needed to build confidence among the member states that Britain would be a reliable partner through reaching an early agreement on Britain’s divorce bill, citizens rights and the Irish border.
“The clock is ticking,” he said. “There isn’t much time ahead of us to conclude a good deal … The agreement is there to create a foundation of trust. We have to make sure that is there by solving the problems for the citizens, for the beneficiaries of the structural funds, and the borders. We have to create the foundations for ongoing trust that we need to build a future relationship with the UK – that is a sine qua non.”
via The Guardian