Brexit: EU-UK trade deal "impossible" by 2020 deadline, says European Commission

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has warned Britain that it won't get the “highest quality access” to the European Union's market after Brexit unless it makes major concessions.

In a frank message to the UK, she said negotiating a new UK-EU trade deal will be "tough". She also said the end-of-2020 deadline that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed on negotiations makes it "basically impossible'' to strike a comprehensive new agreement in time.

Johnson says the UK is seeking a free trade deal, but doesn't want to keep EU rules and standards, which would set a worrying precedent for the bloc. Britain wants to be free to diverge from EU regulations in order to strike new trade deals around the world.

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