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Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, has said he is “ready” for the start of the UK’s exit talks.

Speaking to the FT at a conference of Europe’s centre right parties in Malta, Mr Barnier said: “I am ready. I want to succeed, I want to get a deal.”

Still, “in the common interest of the UK and the EU, there are some conditions” for getting an agreement, said the former French foreign minister who will be carrying out talks on behalf of Brussels with his UK equivalent David Davis.

Mr Barnier was speaking as the UK triggers the Article 50 clause of the Lisbon Treaty in the coming hour in Brussels, marking the first ever formal notification of a member state’s exit in 60 years. It will kickstart at least two years of talks with the bloc.

Mr Barnier has said today marks “day one of a very long and difficult road” during talks with the Maltese PM. Malta holds the current rotating presidency of the EU.

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