European Commission chief 'not very optimistic' about Brexit deal

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday he is not hopeful that Britain will leave the European Union (EU) with a deal in place for the transition. 

“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,” he told a session of the European Economic and Social Committee, according to CNBC.


“In the British parliament every time they are voting, there is a majority against something, there is no majority in favor of something.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May has already reached an agreement with the EU for the country to leave but has so far failed to get support for the plan in Parliament. 

The United Kingdom is facing a March 29 deadline to approve a deal that would allow it to negotiate its future relationship with the EU before it officially breaks off from the body. If the British government fails to agree on a plan, the U.K. will leave the EU on that date without any transition deal.

The prospect of a no-deal or "hard" Brexit has alarmed businesses and political leaders, many of whom warn that it could be disastrous to the British and global economy.

Juncker warned that such a scenario would cause “destruction” and could have “terrible economic and social consequences” for the U.K. and the continent at large. 

The tumult has already taken a toll on the U.K., with some companies deciding to move operations out of the country and the pound dropping by almost 14 percent in value since the U.K. voted in June 2016 to exit the EU, according to Bloomberg.