1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
The EU and UK flags
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/K. O'Connor

Germany urges UK to be 'more realistic' on Brexit

June 4, 2020

The UK cannot enjoy both "full sovereignty" and "full access" to the EU's internal market, says Germany's ambassador to the EU. London and Brussels hope to reach a new Brexit deal before the end of 2020.


With time running out for the UK and the EU to settle their post-Brexit ties, Germany's EU envoy Michael Clauss on Thursday warned that  "no real progress" was being made.

The UK officially left the bloc on January 31, but maintains its travel and trade connections with the EU under a transitional deal set to expire by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the two sides are working on a new, permanent deal that would go in force after the transitional accord expires. However, the two sides seemed deeply entrenched as the fourth round of talks started on Tuesday.

Speaking to European Policy Center think-tank in Brussels, Clauss called on the UK to adopt a "more realistic approach."

While reaching the deal was "absolutely" possible, Clauss warned that it was not possible for Britain to have "full sovereignty and at the same time full access to the EU's internal market."

Read more: Does the coronavirus crisis make a no-deal Brexit more likely?

Breakthrough needed before October

UK officials have an option to demand an extension of the transitional period, but would need to submit the request before the end of June. However, London has repeatedly rejected this possibility.

Last week, the UK's chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, said that "we are not going to ask for an extension and if the EU asks for one, we will not a agree to that." Brexit supporters in the UK have grown frustrated with delays that have been plaguing the divorce proceedings since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

Read more: Brexit begins for real: As EU-UK talks start, what do both sides want?

On Thursday, Ambassador Clauss confirmed that the EU was working on an assumption that London would not ask for more time. Under these circumstances, a deal  would need to be reached by October this year in order to be ratified and ready to go into force on January 1. Otherwise, the UK could face a so-called cliff-edge scenario which would effectively cut trade with the bloc.

EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, EU Council chief Charles Michel and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson are set to meet later in June in an attempt to break the deadlock.

dj/rt (AFP, dpa)

Every evening, DW sends out a selection of the day's news and features. Sign up here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Site of a damaged apartment building in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy urges faster weapon deliveries

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage