European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a news conference at Government Buildings in Dublin, Ireland January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O’Sullivan
DUBLIN (Reuters) – It will ultimately be up to Britain whether or not it seeks more time to negotiate a trade agreement with the European Union after it leaves the bloc, the head of the European Commission said on Wednesday.
Britain is set to leave the EU on Jan. 31 after agreeing a divorce deal late last year but will remain bound by all the bloc’s rules until the end of 2020 under an agreed transition phase aimed at smoothing its exit.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists he will not ask for more time, even as European leaders, including EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, cast doubt on the feasibility of agreeing a trade deal over the next 11 months.
“There is only one of the two who can ask for an extension and that is the United Kingdom. We will