EU presses Britain to 'face up to hard facts' on Brexit

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Just days after snubbing Prime Minister Theresa May’s calls for a special post-Brexit deal, the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier today warned Britain against undercutting EU rules and said it would not retain its current privileges once it leaves the bloc.

He also defended an EU proposal for the bloc to continue to regulate trade in the British province of Northern Ireland after Brexit, should no other ways emerge to avoid a hard border between that territory and the country of Ireland.

Urging the PM to speed up the Brexit negotiations and define her vision for the future relationship between UK and the EU, Barnier said: “One cannot have at the same time the status of a third country and demand at the same time the advantages of the (European) Union,” Barnier told a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“It is time to face up to the hard facts,” he added.

The EU and Britain are hoping to seal a deal this month on a transition period after Brexit this spring.

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