BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany wants to do all it can to conclude outstanding negotiations with Britain on its future ties with the European Union by the end of this year, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Friday.

“Together with the chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, together with the Commission, we will do all we can to bring to a positive conclusion by the year’s end the further negotiations with the United Kingdom,” Altmaier told reporters.

“We agreed that this (Brexit) offers a big opportunity – despite the melancholy one feels – to strengthen and reform the European Union,” Altmaier added at a joint news conference with Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for internal markets.

Reporting by Paul Carrel; editing by Thomas Seythal

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