November 13, 2018 / 3:40 PM / a month ago

EU moving to "make best" of Brexit deal - Juncker

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker addresses his speech during a debate on the future of Europe, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - The European Union is not out to punish Britain for leaving and its chief negotiator Michel Barnier is moving toward an accord that can make the best of Brexit for both sides, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday.

“We don’t want any punishment of Britain,” the EU chief executive told the European Parliament. Describing Britain’s departure as “a tragedy, a historical error”, Juncker said that nevertheless the EU would accept the result of the British referendum and “make the best of it” in the interests of all.

“The Commission, together with Michel Barnier, is moving into that direction,” he said in English during a debate in the chamber with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald

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