EU leader: “UK would suffer most from missing new Brexit deadline”
- The UK would suffer the most if officials failed to meet a new December 2020 deadline to finalise a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned.
- Addressing MEPs in the European Parliament on Wednesday (18 December), von der Leyen conceded that “the timetable ahead of us is extremely challenging,” adding that “in case we cannot reach an agreement by the end of 2020 we will face again a cliff-edge situation.”
- “That will clearly harm our interests but it will clearly impact more the UK,” said von der Leyen.
- Once the UK formally leaves the EU in January, formal negotiations on a new trade agreement will begin, and von der Leyen told MEPs that the Commission would be ready to propose a negotiating mandate to national leaders on 1 February. However, that will leave only an eleven-month timetable to finalise and ratify a new pact, far shorter than the amount of time it typically takes to broker a trade deal.