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EU’s Tusk warns UK ‘most difficult challenge’ ahead in Brexit talks

European Union President Donald Tusk has warned Britain about the difficulty of the next level of the Brexit talks.

“The most difficult challenge is still ahead. We all know that breaking up is hard but breaking up and building a new relation is much harder,” Tusk said on Friday after Britain and the EU reached an agreement on the terms of the Brexit.

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Tusk, who was reading a statement at the EU headquarters in Brussels, set the draft guidelines for the talks ahead.

“Now to negotiate a transition arrangement and the framework for our future relationship we have de facto less than a year,” he said.

Tusk said in order to do future trade with the EU, the UK will be obliged to follow all the EU laws, including new ones.

“We need more clarity on how the UK sees our future relations after it has left the single market and customs union,” he explained.

The UK will also have to collect the EU customs tariffs and ensure all the EU checks are performed on borders with third countries, he said.

“We are ready to start preparing a close EU-UK partnership in trade, but also in the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defense and foreign policy,” said the former Polish prime minister.

In related news, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the EU bloc was adamant on preserving the integrity of the single market with its four freedoms on the movement of goods, capital, services and labor.

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief negotiator in charge of Brexit negotiations with Britain, looks on during a press conference at the European Commission in Brussels, December 8, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

He said Britain’s insistence on leaving the single market and customs union had left the EU with no choice other than to work on a new post-Brexit free trade agreement with the UK.

He said the final version of the completed Brexit agreement will be completed by October 2018.

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