EU's Barnier says risk of no-deal Brexit still exists
The European Union's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday the risk of Britain's chaotic departure from the bloc without a divorce agreement still existed.
He said that could either happen at the end of January, should the British parliament fail to ratify the Brexit deal the 27 EU countries had sealed with Britain and London would not be granted another delay to its departure.
It could also happen at the end of the status-quo transition period envisaged after Brexit until the end of 2020 if no new trade deal is agreed between the two sides by then and no extra time is agreed to achieve that.
"The risk of Brexit happening without an agreement still exists," Barnier told a speech in Brussels. "We still need to prepare."
"In all member states, there is a big difference in preparedness between bigger companies and SMEs. It's not time to become complacent. Work with SMEs in particular must continue. "