European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier | Frederick Florin/AFP via Getty Images
Von der Leyen: UK trade deal may not be possible by end of 2020
Commission chief says she is ‘very worried’ about limited time available.
Updated 12/27/19, 3:57 PM CET
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen questioned whether it would be possible to strike a trade deal with the U.K before the end of the Brexit transition period.
In an interview with Les Echos, von der Leyen said she is “very worried” about the limited time to negotiate a trade deal with the U.K.
“It seems to me that on both sides we should seriously ask ourselves if all these negotiations are possible in such a short time. I think it would be reasonable to take stock mid-year and, if necessary, to agree on an extension of the transition period,” she said.
The U.K. is hoping for an EU trade deal to be agreed during its transition period, which is set to run from the start of February until the end of 2020, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will not extend negotiations beyond that date.
In an interview with Spiegel magazine also published Friday, Von der Leyen emphasized the biggest concern is “the mass of issues that need to be negotiated” to prevent a cliff-edge scenario on January 1, 2021.