The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has announced that a deal with Britain over its departure from the bloc will not be reached "quickly and painlessly."
“Some have created the illusion that Brexit would have no material impact on our lives or that negotiations can be concluded quickly and painlessly,” Michel Barnier said in a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday. “This is not the case.”
“We need sound solutions, we need legal precision and this will take time,” Barnier said.
The EU official made the comments as he outlined the negotiating guidelines for the first phase of Britain's withdrawal talks. He said the process would take time because the EU wanted Britain’s divorce to happen in an orderly fashion and with sound solutions.
He added that negotiations would be complicated and those who said the withdrawal would not affect the bloc were under “illusion.”
The EU negotiator said, “The UK must put a great deal of energy and effort into these three issues over the next weeks and months and that will increase the chances of making a deal.”
The EU is reportedly demanding that Britain pay a hundred billion euros to the bloc before leaving. British Brexit Minister David Davis has categorically rejected the idea of a divorce bill, saying London will not pay that money.
Reports say the EU has initially sought a 50-billion-euro bill but doubled the charge upon requests from Germany, France and Poland. This is expected to widen the divide between London and Brussels before negotiations for striking a divorce deal kick off.
Britain triggered Article 50, the formal process for leaving the EU, in March, starting a two-year negotiating process. May has hoped to wrap up the talks by October 2018 to get the final deal passed by the European Parliament and in time for Britain's scheduled departure on March 29, 2019.