January 30, 2019 / 4:18 PM / 9 months ago

EU would respond quickly if UK changed mind on post-Brexit future - EU's Barnier

European Union Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier speaks next to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during a plenary session of the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union would be willing to negotiate immediately if Britain changed its mind and opted for a closer relationship with the bloc after Brexit, the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday.

“You know that there are several models for economic cooperation with countries. Each of these models has its own balance of rights and obligations but there are many different models,” he told the European Parliament.

“If the UK demand were to evolve beyond a simple free trade agreement, on which we agreed in the political declaration, towards one of these models we would be ready to discuss that immediately and express our own ambitions in the face of the UK ambitions,” he continued.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Clare Roth

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