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    EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Says Confident of Brexit Talks' Good Outcome

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - European Commission's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier said he was certain that the talks on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union could reach a good outcome.

    "I remain confident that the negotiations can reach a good outcome. It is possible to respect EU principles and create a new and ambitious partnership," Barnier wrote in an op-ed published on the European Commission’s website on Thursday.

    Barnier added that London and Brussels had already agreed 80 percent of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, he noted that the sides still had to agree on important points, such as the protection of "geographical indications," the border between UK’s Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as on a free trade agreement and the security cooperation.

    READ MORE: UK Could Develop Independent Satellite System After Leaving EU – Professor

    The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in 2016. The Brexit negotiations officially started in June 2017 and are expected to be completed by the end of March 2019.

    As the deadline for the Brexit agreement is approaching, the parties are still at a deadlock on the major withdrawal issue – post-Brexit customs arrangements. According to the so-called Chequers plan, adopted by the UK cabinet in July, the two parties could create a free trade area for goods and maintain a "common rulebook" for all goods. Brussels, however, rejected the proposal.

    The issue of the Irish border is among the most contentious matters in the EU-UK talks, as possible UK pullout from the EU Customs Union might require the introduction of a hard border between the United Kingdom and Ireland.


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