Michael Barnier: We are close to offering the UK a Brexit deal
The EU's chief negotiator said 'we are prepared to offer the UK a deal like no other third country'
Michel Barnier has just said he is close to offering the UK a Brexit deal.
The EU's chief negotiator is preparing to finalise a relationship with the UK unlike that of any other 'third country' in the EU's periphery and would "scrupulously" respect Britain's red lines.
Speaking in Berlin he said: "We are prepared to offer a partnership with Britain such as has never been with any other third country.
"We respect Britain’s red lines scrupulously. In return, they must respect what we are.
"Single market means single market, there is no single market a la carte."
The deadline earmarked for a Brexit deal is October, to provide enough time for legislative approval and the beginnings of implementation ahead of B-Day on March 29 2019.
Mr Barnier said the UK and the EU had to be "very careful because the last phase is very sensitive and difficult."
"In addition to the agreement, we must publish in October or November a very important political declaration on the future relationship, that we want with the UK to be as close as possible."
"It’s important as we enter the final phase of the negotiations to the lead up to the October council and the possibility that it may creep beyond that, we want to see some renewed energy.
"We are bringing the ambition and substance of our white paper on our future relationship, and also some pragmatism to go the extra mile to get the deal that I think is in both sides’ interest.
"We need that to be matched, obviously."
He will meet Brexit secretary Dominic Raab on Friday.