EU says ‘ready’ for Brexit trade talks after Johnson win

EU leaders said Friday they were ready for the next phase of Brexit, just hours after the resounding victory of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s party that all but seals Britain’s divorce from the bloc.
“My point is very clear: we are ready. We have decided what are our priorities,” said EU President Charles Michel as he arrived to an EU summit where leaders will discuss the aftermath of the UK vote and Britain’s planned departure from the bloc on January 31.
“I hope we will have loyal negotiations, good negotiations,” added Michel, who coordinates EU summits for the bloc’s 28 member states, that for now also includes Britain.
The former Belgian prime minister hoped for “an early ratification by the British parliament” of the exit agreement negotiated between London and the EU, “so that we can start the negotiations on the next phase calmly, quietly but with great determination”.
The EU leaders have a Brexit text ready to adopt on Friday at the end of their two day summit, which was dominated on Thursday by climate talks.
According to the latest draft, seen by AFP, the 27 other EU leaders will call for “as close as possible a future relationship with the UK” while warning that “the future relationship will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations and ensure a level playing field” in terms of business and trade rules.
And they will ask the European Commission to submit “a draft comprehensive mandate for a future relationship with the UK immediately after its withdrawal.”
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will direct trade negotiations, which the leaders will follow closely “and provide further guidance as necessary, fully consistent with the EU’s best interest,” the conclusions will add.

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