World Bulletin / News Desk
"All in all, there will be less than 18 months to negotiate," Barnier told a press conference in Brussels, adding the work would be "legally complex, politically sensitive and have important consequences."
"That will be a short time. Should the UK notify the [European] Council by the end of March as Prime Minister Theresa May said she would, it is safe to say negotiations could start a few weeks later and an Article 50 deal reached by October 2018," Barnier said.
Last month, May said the U.K. would use Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which regulates negotiations and the timetable for a state to leave the European Union by March 2017.
Barnier underlined that EU members enjoyed certain rights and benefits.
"Third countries can never have the same rights and benefits since they are not subject to the same obligations," he said.
Almost 52 percent of UK voters rejected their country's 43-year membership of the European Union in a historic referendum in June.