The European Commission’s president warned Britain on Wednesday that it won’t get the “highest quality access” to the European Union’s market after Brexit unless it makes major compromises.
Ursula Von der Leyen said negotiating a new U.K.-EU trade deal will be tough, and that “with every choice comes a consequence.”
Britain is due to leave the EU on Jan. 31 and begin an 11-month transition period while the two sides negotiate a new economic relationship. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the U.K. is seeking a free trade deal, but doesn’t want to agree to keep EU rules and standards.
That could cause problems. Speaking in London before a meeting with Johnson on Wednesday, Von der Leyen warned that “without a level playing field on environment, labor, taxation and state aid, you cannot have the highest quality access to the world’s largest single market.”
The European Commission president also cautioned that “you cannot expect to agree on every single aspect of our new partnership” by the end of 2020. Johnson insists he will not extend the transition period beyond Dec. 31.