BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union hopes to make enough progress by November on citizens rights and a financial settlement in talks on Britain's exit from the bloc to be able to start discussions on a future relationship with London, the EU's chief negotiator said.
Discussions on a future trade deal between Britain and the EU are important to London, which hopes they could be wrapped up by the time Britain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019. EU officials say much more time is likely to be needed.
Michel Barnier told a news conference that such "sufficient progress" would include agreeing with London on a way to calculate what Britain will owe the EU on the day it leaves.
He said he could not give even a estimate now, but that it was not his intention to ask Britain to sign a blank check.
Such sufficient progress would also include agreeing to a cut-off date, until which EU citizens arriving in Britain would enjoy the same rights as now. The EU wants that to be the date of Britain's withdrawal -- March 29, 2019.
Barnier urged a quick start to the negotiations, warning time was "very short" to settle a lot of very complex issues, and said Britain's elections on June 8 would change nothing in the EU approach to negotiations on Britain's exit.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski)