“Brexit without agreement with the European Union will do more harm to Britain than the rest of Europe, no matter how hard Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government tries to prove otherwise,” Juncker told a regional newspaper in the Austrian province of Tyrol, where he regularly spends his summer vacations.
Britain insists that the European Union amend the terms of the British agreement to withdraw from the European community. The British authorities believe that Brussels will have to take responsibility for Brexit without an agreement if it does not compromise.
“If it comes to a hard Brexit, that is in no one’s interest, but the British would be the big losers. They are acting as though that were not the case but it is,” Juncker said.
At the same time, he added that Brussels is fully prepared for the implementation of the “hard” Brexit scenario.
The European Union has said the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the previous British administration led by Theresa May will not be re-opened. Johnson says it wants a key element of that deal, the so-called Irish “backstop”, to be scrapped.
The backstop, agreed between Brussels and May’s government, aims to keep the border between the Republic of Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland open, and would effectively keep Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market if no alternative arrangement can be found.
“We have made clear that we are not prepared to hold new negotiations on the withdrawal agreement but only to make certain clarifications in the framework of the political declarations that regulate future relations between the United Kingdom and European Union,” Juncker said.
“We are well prepared (for no-deal) and I hope the British are too.”