EU negotiator: Brexit will hurt, trade won't be easy

Markets Associated Press

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator says Britain cannot enjoy "frictionless" trade with EU partners after it leaves the union.

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Michel Barnier took a tough position on the Brexit negotiations Thursday, warning there will be "negative" consequences no matter what.

He said the consequences would be even worse if the EU and Britain can't agree on departure terms, and there's no "reasonable justification" for failing to reach a deal. He insisted, however, that the EU isn't trying to punish Britain for voting to leave.

His stance contrasts with the positions of British Prime Minister Theresa May and British Brexit negotiator David Davis.

Representatives at an EU committee meeting in Brussels on Thursday questioned Barnier about the negotiations and their impact on the Irish cheddar trade, youth exchange programs and other issues.