• By The Financial District


Britain is more likely to leave the EU single market without a trade deal in place than with one, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned the bloc's leaders at a summit, according to an EU source, Ella Joyner reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).

The "situation is difficult" with major obstacles still in place, the head of the European Union's executive branch said during a briefing on the state of negotiations on Friday, in comments passed on by an EU official. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson echoed her pessimism on Friday, saying he now believes failure to strike a deal is "very, very likely."

Britain should get ready to trade with the EU on minimalist rules provided for by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the premier has stressed in recent days.

The two leaders agreed earlier this week to have their negotiators press on with talks until Sunday. Then they will make a decision on whether to proceed or whether to accept a no-deal Brexit, an outcome once considered only a remote possibility. Britain left the EU at the end of January but remains in a transition period until the end of the year. If no deal governing future relations is clinched by then, the harshest of tariffs will be reinstated and cumbersome customs checks will slow down business on both sides.