MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Achieving a full trade deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom is not possible by the point of Brexit, more time will be needed to negotiate a free trade agreement, according to EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
Speaking to reporters on the issue of trade, Barnier said that the sides had to reach several agreements ahead of the Brexit date of March 29, 2019, including a treaty on withdrawal, which may be accompanied by a political declaration on the framework for the future UK-EU ties, "but it cannot be anything else, in technical, legal terms it's simply not possible."
The statement comes amid a long-anticipated breakthrough in Brexit talks achieved last week, paving the way for the negotiators to move to the second phase of talks, dedicated to future trade relations.
During the talks within the final round of the first phase of Brexit, Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the commission's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier had to agree on the basic terms of Brexit, including the question of borders, Britain's financial payments to its European partners and the rights of EU citizens in Britain after Brexit.
The second stage of Brexit talks will begin as early as January 2018, a high-ranking EU source told reporters on condition of anonymity, adding that the issue of the transitional period would be on the agenda.