European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said today that Brexit is ‘the past’ and that he has ‘Brexit fatigue’.
Speaking to the European Economic and Social Committee the morning after talks with Theresa May, Mr Juncker called Brexit a ‘disaster’, blaming the gridlock in the House of Commons.
He said: “Brexit is deconstruction, it is not construction. Brexit is the past, it is not the future.
“We are trying to deliver our best efforts in order to have this Brexit being organised in a proper, civilised, well-thought-out way.
“But we are not there, because in the British Parliament there is, every time they are voting, a majority against something, there is never a majority in favour of something.”
The head of the EC said he is ‘not optimistic’ that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided, spelling out the consequences of Britain’s departure without a deal.
“If a no-deal would happen – and I can’t exclude this – this would have terrible economic and social consequences, both in Britain and on the continent, and so my efforts orient in a way that the worst can be avoided.
“But I am not very optimistic when it comes to this issue.”
The damning assessment does not bode well for the Prime Minister’s plan to reopen the Brexit negotiations and negotiate concessions from the EU in order to get her deal through Parliament.
Mrs May was in Brussels last night for further talks with Mr Juncker in yet another attempt to wrestle concessions out of the EU.
The PM is trying to persuade the 27 to make changes to the Irish backstop agreement contained within the deal she negotiated with them.
A joint statement released yesterday by Mr Juncker and Mrs May said that talks had been ‘constructive’ but offered little detail about any concrete progress.
Brexiteers say the backstop will trap the UK into abiding by rules made in Brussels and that Britain needs to have the power to terminate the backstop when they choose.
The EU has said multiple times it is not willing to renegotiate and that avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is their priority.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox are in Brussels to try and break the impasse over the backstop issue.