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European Union: The risk of a Brexit without agreement is 'very real'

In the worst-case scenario, a Brexit without an agreement could involve serious trade disorders, supplies of medicines, fresh foods, among others

Jean-Claude Juncker in a debate in the European Parliament on the process of leaving Britain.

Jean-Claude Juncker in a debate in the European Parliament on the process of leaving Britain. / Via REUTERS

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Leer en español: Unión Europea: El riesgo de un Brexit sin acuerdo es 'muy real'

Six weeks from the date stipulated for Brexit, it is still possible to reach a pact to ensure a quiet departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, but the risk of not having an agreement is also "very real," said Wednesday. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

In a speech to the European Parliament, Juncker said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told him Monday that London still wants a transition pact, but that he would leave the block with or without an agreement on October 31.

Legislators who support Brexit applauded and cheered on the chamber in Strasbourg.

"There is very little time left ... The risk of no agreement is very real," said Juncker, who met with Johnson in Luxembourg on Monday.

In the worst-case scenario, a Brexit without agreement could involve serious trade disorders, supplies of medicines, fresh food and a possible increase in public disorders, according to the contingency plans of the British government.

Also read: British PM "cautious" ahead of Brexit talks with EU's Juncker

Such a sharp breakdown in economic ties, which would end four decades of membership in the bloc, "could be the election of the United Kingdom, but never the choice of the EU," said Juncker, pointing out that the European Union wants to avoid the blame if Britain suffers a crisis.

Juncker said that London must present realistic proposals to replace the safeguard for the Irish border in the divorce agreement with the EU, which former Prime Minister Theresa May had agreed with EU leaders but was rejected by the British Parliament.

"I am not emotionally attached to the Irish safeguard," Juncker said. "I have asked the Prime Minister to present, in writing, alternatives," he added, calling it a safety net to avoid a divided Ireland after Brexit.

His pessimistic tone was repeated by the Minister of European Affairs of Finland, Tytti Tuppurainen, who also spoke in Parliament, stating that a Brexit without agreement "is a very possible outcome." Finland currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

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