eu-trade-chief:-boris-johnson-will-back-down-on-brexit-timeline

EU trade chief: Boris Johnson will back down on Brexit timeline

In an interview with the Irish Times, Phil Hogan said Johnson had backed down on his promise not to request a new Brexit extension | Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

EU trade chief: Boris Johnson will back down on Brexit timeline

Phil Hogan says he believes the UK PM will extend the transition period if there’s no deal.

By

12/30/19, 12:08 PM CET

Updated 12/30/19, 12:22 PM CET

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson won’t stick to his pledge not to extend the Brexit transition period, the EU’s trade commissioner predicted.

In an interview with the Irish Times, Phil Hogan said Johnson had backed down on his promise not to request a new Brexit extension and “I don’t believe prime minister Johnson will die in the ditch over the timeline for the future relationship either.”

Hogan’s remarks come after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned last week that a trade deal with the U.K. may not be possible before the end of 2020, which is when the transition period is due to end.

Johnson has said he will not extend negotiations beyond that date, creating a potential new Brexit cliff-edge if no deal is struck. The U.K. government’s Brexit legislation even includes a clause ruling out such an extension. Hogan called that move “very odd,” adding: “It is important that we move from stunt to substance. It would be helpful if the focus was on content rather than timetables.”

Brexit will have “negative consequences for our economies,” Hogan warned.

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