Speech by Michel Barnier in front of the Committees of Foreign Affairs and the Committees of European Affairs of the Italian Parliament
Members of Parliament,
I am happy to be here to give you an update on the ongoing negotiations.
At midnight on 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union and will become a third country. This is the UK’s sovereign decision. It must be respected.
The question facing us over the coming months is serious, but simple: will the United Kingdom leave in an orderly fashion with an agreement, or not?
From our side, I repeat once again that an agreement is the best outcome. It is in our common interest.
But if we want a deal, time is of the essence. The Treaty on European Union foresees a period of two years to negotiate withdrawal.
There is therefore only one year left:
The sooner we make real “sufficient progress” on the conditions of the UK’s withdrawal, the sooner we can begin discussing our future partnership.
This was the approach set out unanimously by the European Council on 29 April in its guidelines. Above all, this approach is an essential condition for the success of these negotiations.