August 21, 2018 / 4:15 PM / 3 months ago

EU's Barnier says Brexit must keep bloc's single market intact

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier attends a media briefing with Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab, after a meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s Brexit negotiator said on Tuesday any agreement with Britain on their future relationship must respect the bloc’s single market rules.

Speaking after holding talks with Brexit secretary Dominic Raab in Brussels on Tuesday, Barnier said the unprecedented talks were entering the final stage.

He said that the last negotiating session in July moved both sides closer to finding agreement on their post-Brexit cooperation on security, but the future economic relationship was still far off.

“This partnership has to respect the single market and the foundations of the European project, and if this is well understood we can conclude the negotiations successfully,” Barnier told a joint news conference with Raab.

He said a deal with Britain was needed “not much later” than in early November and that the bloc was not working towards a “no-deal” Brexit, though it had to prepare for it.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, Foo Yun Chee and Gabriela Baczynska

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