EU chief says possibility of no-deal Brexit is 'very real'

EU chief says possibility of no-deal Brexit is 'very real'
© Greg Nash

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday said that a no-deal Brexit remains a "very real" possibility.

His comment preceded a vote by the European Parliament to approve a Brexit delay if one is requested by the United Kingdom, according to The Associated Press

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Juncker added that a no-deal Brexit “might be the choice of the U.K., but it will never be ours.”

He met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday. Johnson, a staunch supporter of leaving the European Union (EU), has said Brexit will move forward with or without a deal.

That said, European lawmakers voted 544-126 for a nonbinding resolution to grant the U.K. an extension for a purpose such as “avoiding a no-deal departure, holding general elections or a referendum, revoking Article 50, or approving the [current] withdrawal agreement,” the AP reported. 

Article 50 is the provision that has triggered the country's departure from the EU. 

There have already been two Brexit delays as the country has failed to reach an exit deal with the European body. 

According to the wire service, a major disagreement has been over the Irish border backstop, which would force the U.K. to follow EU trade rules in avoidance of a hard border between Ireland, which is part of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K.

“I have no sentimental attachment to the backstop,” Juncker said. "That is why I called on the British prime minister to come forward with concrete proposals, operational and in writing on all alternatives that would allow us to reach these objectives.”

The vote and Juncker's statements follow a recent move by Johnson to try to suspend the British Parliament, which was seen by many as a move to limit the body's ability to block a no-deal Brexit.