Michel Barnier fuels fears of a no-deal Brexit

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Michel Barnier has fuelled fears of a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020 after suggesting future negotiations on a trade deal might require more than three years of talks, our Brussels bureau chief.

Speaking to the European parliament, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator appeared to concede the 14-month transition period would not allow time to reach agreement on a new trade and security arrangement. He said such talks could take “three years or more”.

The current transition period, during which the UK will stay in the single market and customs union but not be part of the EU’s decision-making bodies, finishes at the end of December 2020.

The withdrawal agreement allows for the transition period to be extended by “one to two years” but Boris Johnson has said he will not trigger such a prolongation.