EU may seek deadline extension for Brexit trade talks, says EU Commission chief

The European Union may need to extend the deadline for talks about a new trade relationship with Britain, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told French daily Les Echos.

Von der Leyen said that both sides needed to seriously think about whether there is enough time to negotiate a new trade deal and work out agreements about a series of other issues.

'I am very worried about the short time we have,' she told the paper.

'It would be reasonable to evaluate the situation mid-year and then, if necessary, agree on extending the transition period.'

Britain has set a hard deadline of December 2020 for reaching a new trade deal with the EU, gambling that the prospect of a no-deal Brexit would push Brussels to move quickly to seal an accord.

But von der Leyen said earlier this month that the time-frame is 'extremely short' to discuss not only trade issues but also education, transport, fisheries and other issues.

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