March 2, 2018 / 4:03 PM / 4 months ago

EU's Barnier welcomes 'clarity' in May Brexit speech

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier welcomed “clarity” from Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday and her recognition that Britain faces “trade-offs” when it leaves the EU single market and customs union.

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier speaks during his visit to Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen at the Prime Ministers residence Marienborg, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, March 2, 2018. Scanpix Denmark/Keld Navntoft via REUTERS

“Clarity about UK leaving Single Market and Customs Union and recognition of trade-offs will inform ... guidelines re future FTA,” Barnier tweeted after May delivered a keynote speech on future trade relations.

He was referring to proposals the EU will make next week for negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with London.

Barnier made no further comment on May’s vision of a close relationship with the EU involving mutual recognition of many regulations and standards and “frictionless” borders.

He has in the past made clear that there would be border checks if Britain leaves the single market and that the EU insists on supervisory and enforcement mechanisms for recognizing others’ standards.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Writing by Alastair Macdonald

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