The European Union’s top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, told reporters in Berlin on August 29 that the bloc is willing to forge an “ambitious” deal with Britain – far beyond any agreements made with other countries.
“We are ready… to propose a partnership like there has never been before with any other third country,” Michel Barnier told a Berlin press conference alongside German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), such a deal could include “an ambitious free trade agreement” as well as cooperation in the areas of aviation, security and foreign policy.
However, Barnier was quick to stress that any agreement had to respect “the four pillars” of the EU’s cherished single market – the free movement of people, goods, services and capital.
“Single market means single market,” Barnier said.
London and Brussels hope to strike an agreement by October, to allow its ratification by the European and British parliaments before the 29 March 2019 divorce date.
In a separate report, the Reuters news agency noted the EU’s unyielding stance to not permit anything that weakened the body’s single market.
“We respect Britain’s red lines scrupulously. In return, they must respect what we are,” said Barnier. “There is no single market a la carte.”