Jean-Claude Juncker: Brexit talks need a ‘miracle’
Juncker - European Parliament audiovisual
Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that a "miracle" is needed for trade talks between Britain and the EU to begin next month.
In a gloomy assessment of how the negotiations are proceeding, the European Commission president said it was highly unlikely that “sufficient progress” will have been made on citizens' rights, the Irish border and the Brexit divorce bill for the talks to move onto the next stage.
His comments come a day after Michel Barnier, the EU's top Brexit negotiator, said it could be "months" before the trade talks begin.
The Government had hoped that trade talks could start when negotiators from both sides next meet up in October.
But speaking on his way into an EU leaders’ summit in Tallinn, Estonia, Mr Juncker said: “By the end of October we will not have sufficient progress.
"At the end of this week I am saying that that there will be no sufficient progress from now until October unless miracles would happen."
Theresa May is set to hold talks on Brexit with Angela Merkel, who was re-elected German Chancellor last week, at the Estonia summit.