February 21, 2019 / 10:21 AM / a month ago

EU's Juncker "not very optimistic" about Brexit deal

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe’s chief executive said on Thursday he was “not very optimistic” about Britain’s chances of leaving the European Union with a deal, also warning that any failure to agree an orderly Brexit deal will be economically costly.

“If no deal were to happen, and I cannot exclude this, this would have terrible economic and social consequences in Britain and on the continent, so my efforts are oriented in a way that the worst can be avoided. But I am not very optimistic when it comes to this issue,” said Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who met British Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels on Wednesday.

“Because in the British parliament every time they are voting, there is a majority against something, there is no majority in favour of something,” he told a plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

Reporting by Robin Emmott and Jan Strupczewski

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