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EU Negotiator Sets 'Brexit' Deal Deadline

  • VOA News

Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Dec. 6, 2016.

The European Union's chief negotiator for Britain's exit from the bloc says a deal must be in place by October 2018.

Frenchman Michel Barnier issued the timetable Tuesday in Brussels. Warning that Britain could not just "cherry pick" what it likes about the European Union, Barnier laid out four conditions for a final agreement, including acceptance of the EU single economic market and its "four freedoms," among them freedom of movement among all peoples, which he called "indivisible."

Barnier also warned Britain would not get a better deal as a non-EU member than it does now, and negotiations will not begin before the European Union receives London's formal notification.

British voters chose the so-called "Brexit" in a June referendum. Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to trigger Article 50, Britain's formal notification that it will leave the European Union, by March.

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