BRUSSELS – The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator on Friday said he welcomed the clarity offered by the United Kingdom’s prime minister on her approach to the negotiations outlined in her key Brexit speech in London.
Michel Barnier had earlier in the week prompted a rebuttal from Theresa May after he suggested that Northern Ireland could remain in the EU’s customs union as part of a measure to maintain an open border with the Republic of Ireland.
“I welcome PM Theresa May’s speech. Clarity about leaving the Single Market and Customs Union and recognition of trade-offs will inform European Council guidelines re: FTA (future trade agreement),” Barnier tweeted.
In her speech, May reiterated her conservative government’s desire to leave the bloc’s economic arrangements, acknowledged that access to the single market after Brexit would be reduced and stood firm on her dismissal of Northern Ireland receiving a separate deal from the rest of the county.
She said she remained optimistic that a mutually beneficial deal with the EU could be struck post-Brexit.