Europe News

Brexit deal in 18 months is ample time: Johnson

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, arrives at number 10 Downing Street for a cabinet meeting in London, November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - British foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that the 18 months the EU’s chief negotiator has set for concluding talks with Britain to leave the bloc should be “absolutely ample”.

“I think that with a fair wind and everybody acting in a positive and compromising mood, and I am sure they will, we can get a great deal for the UK and for the rest of Europe within that time frame,” Johnson told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

“I see no reason why not, at all. That time frame seems to me to be absolutely ample,” he continued.

Michel Barnier, giving a first news conference on Tuesday after two months in office, said the two-year deadline for final withdrawal fixed in Article 50 of the EU treaty meant there would be less than 18 months to run negotiations themselves.

Reporting by Robin Emmott, writing by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek