France's Macron says Barnier only negotiator on Brexit

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 31, 2017 1:53 PM

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed on Thursday his support to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier as the only point of contact for Brexit negotiations, dismissing talk in the British press that Paris was at odds with him.

"I want to be very clear and reiterate our will, which is that there is only one negotiator and only one mandate," Macron said in a joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

"Only one negotiator, it's Michel Barnier, and I want here to clear any ambiguity created by false information that was spread," he added.

Britain's Daily Telegraph daily said earlier this week that France and other EU nations had signaled they were willing to begin Brexit trade talks as early as October and were at odds with Barnier.

The report was immediately denied by the president's office, which called it "groundless", while a source close to Macron told Reuters there was "nothing true in this".

In the news conference, Rutte said he was concerned about the pace of Brexit negotiations.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by John Irish)