As early negotiations in Brussels have grown increasingly fractious, concerns have emerged Britain could end up remaining in the bloc because the tight timescale created by the March 2019 deadline could scupper hopes of settling accounts and negotiating a trade deal.
With Brussels’ Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier growing frustrated with his UK counterparts for not offering a clear strategy, the long-awaited talks have not started as well as first hoped.
That sparked Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat to say he believes Brexit could be stopped.
However, Mr Juncker has poured cold water on any hopes that the UK could end up staying in the bloc.
GETTYJean-Clause Juncker believes the UK will not renege on plans to leave the EURelated articles
He told Politico: “I don’t go as far as the Maltese prime minister [Joseph Muscat] who has not ruled out that it will not come to Brexit.
“My working hypothesis is that it will come to Brexit.”
The EU Commission chief claimed talks are in good hands with Mr Barnier, which allows Mr Juncker to spend only “as much time as it needs” on Brexit.
Mr Juncker said he is able to spend more time focussing on “the EU’s positive agenda” such as “economic growth and investments, migration and security, the development of a common defence policy, and strengthening our trade relationships with Japan, Canada and Latin America”.
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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker greets EU Commission Chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas