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Czech diplomat: Brexit talks must not harm EU-British relations

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Prague, June 15 (CTK) – The Brexit talks must not harm relations between the European Union (EU) and Britain, Czech Ambassador to the EU Martin Povejsil said at the Prague European Summit international conference on Thursday.

A serious harm caused to the relations might be reflected in other spheres and affect the work of NATO, which is in no party’s interest, he said.

He pointed out that Britain as well as the remaining EU countries would have the same interests in the security sphere even after Brexit.

“We must think not only of the goal of the talks, but also of the process itself,” said Povejsil.

He said he expected the talks to be complicated. However, despite that, it would be wrong if tension and the feeling of injustice remained between Britain and the EU-27 afterwards as this would have a long-term impact on everyday relations between London and the EU countries.

“We must not forget that 22 EU countries are also NATO members. We would not like to see such a tension to emerge in NATO and affect its functioning,” Povejsil said.

He pointed out that the security and defence interests of Britain and the EU are identical and they will not change after Brexit either. In this respect, he mentioned Britain assuring the EU that it would like to further cooperate with it in security issues.

Steffaan De Rynck, European Commission’s adviser in the Brexit agenda, also warned at the conference of escalating political pressure. The aim of the Brexit talks is to reach consensus, he said.

Both parties are interested in completing the talks as soon ass possible to overcome the uncertainty about the future existing since last year’s referendum on Britain’s departure from the EU, he added.

Glenn Vaughan, head of the British Chamber of Commerce in Brussels, said the Brexit talks must be conducted in a way to cause the least possible harm to the British as well as European economy.

For British firms, Brexit will definitely mean losses. The final shape of the Brexit deal will determine how big the losses will be, he said.

British firms would like the free movement of people to be preserved to the widest possible extent, because they need employees from European countries, Vaughan said.

Christian Bluth, from the German-based Bertelsmann Foundation, said the foundation expects the British departure from the EU to have the strongest economic impact on Ireland, followed by Britain. Furthermore, it will mainly afflict Belgium and the Netherlands, though not as strongly as the above two island states, Bluth said.

He said during the negotiations, an interim agreement on British-EU trade relations will probably have to be signed, since he does not expect all questions in this field to be settled before the two-year deadline.

It should not be forgotten that the negotiations about the CETA agreement on free trade between the EU and Canada took seven years, Bluth said.

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