BRUSSELS The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday he expected first talks with London on the terms of Britain's withdrawal form the EU to take place in week starting on Monday, June 19.
Speaking to reporters, Barnier said he did not want to think about the talks collapsing and that the sooner the key issues related to the withdrawal were agreed, the sooner both sides could move to discussing the terms of a future trade deal.
He reiterated the rights of citizens and a financial settlement between Britain and the EU had to be dealt with first.
"We will need to make sufficient progress on this first phase if we are to move to phase two as quickly as we can at the end of this year and the beginning of next as we negotiate the future relationship between the EU and the UK," he said.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)