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Brexit: Germany and EU tell UK: No Brexit cherry-picking | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 29.08.2018

Berlin and Brussels showed a united front on Wednesday delivering a single message to London: There will be no cherry-picking when it comes to the single market.

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier came to the German capital for talks with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, after which they appeared before a handful of cameras and reporters to offer similar statements.

"In the end, it will come down to the fact that we will resist the so-called cherry-picking," said Maas, following familiar declarations of sorrow that Britain had chosen to part ways, and that Germany, like all the other 27 remaining EU member states, wanted a close relationship with the UK in future.

However, both men remained optimistic that an agreement could be reached – that there would be no "disorganized Brexit." Barnier said a deal had been reached on a majority of the issues, while Maas professed that the "last big hurdle" was the question of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"We are firmly convinced that the exit agreement must guarantee that Brexit must not lead to a hard border in Northern Ireland," said Maas. "It is important that this guarantee must be valid regardless of how the EU and Britain will shape its new relationship."

Echoing British Prime Minister Theresa May's soundbite that "Brexit means Brexit," Barnier switched to English to deliver his own quip in retort: "single market means single market." This organization of trade within the EU, he said, remained "non-negotiable."

Once again, Maas' position was identical: "Of course the door remains open for London," he said. "Britain can take part in the single market just as it is, but we will not wind the single market back, or deconstruct it, or create special regulations."

"It cannot be that Britain on its side just picks out all the positive points for itself," the German minister added, leaving the impression that "leaving the European Union entails no disadvantage at all."

The current plan is for both sides to finish negotiations by October when the two sides will present the final deal at an EU summit. This will only leave a few months for all the various parliaments in the EU to ratify an exit contract; the official date set for Brexit is March 29, 2019.

Germany and EU tell UK: No Brexit cherry-picking | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 29.08.2018

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