EU well prepared for “no-deal” scenario in trade talks with UK: von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday warned that the European Union (EU) is well-prepared for “a no-deal scenario” as crucial gaps remain in post-Brexit trade talks with Britain.

Giving an update on negotiations with Britain at the European Parliament Plenary, von der Leyen underscored that the next few days will be “decisive”.

“I cannot tell you today if in the end there will be a deal,” the chief of European Commission said, noting that the EU will do all in its power to reach an agreement, likely in a creative way.

Despite genuine progress on certain issues, von der Leyen admitted that the EU and Britain remain divided on three crucial topics — a level playing field, governance and fisheries — which “can make the difference between a deal and no deal.”

Von der Leyen warned Britain against the vain attempt to pursue the benefits of EU membership from the outside.

“Whatever the outcome, there has to be — and there will be — a clear difference between being a full member of the Union and being just a valued partner,” she said.

The latest round of negotiations for the future EU-UK partnership kicked off in Brussels early last week before suspending as a member of the EU team tested positive for COVID-19.

EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier tweeted on Monday that negotiations have continued online, but fundamental divergences are still there.