EU Chief warns no-deal Brexit could have "massively negative consequences"

Ursula von der Leyen Credit: AP Images

The incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has warned that a no-deal Brexit would have "massively negative consequences" for both the UK and the EU.

She said:" We don't want a hard Brexit, it's a bad outcome for both sides."

Ms von der Leyen will replace Jean-Claude Juncker as Brussels' top official on November 1, the day after Brexit is due to take place, after her appointment was narrowly approved by MEPs on Tuesday.

Ursula von der Leyen with her predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker. Credit: AP Images

The German, who will become the first woman to be European Commission president, insisted that the Withdrawal Agreement thrashed out by Brussels with Theresa May remained a good deal.

In an interview conducted in Berlin with The Guardian and four other European newspapers, Ms von der Leyen insisted Theresa May's withdrawal agreement was not dead.

"No, it is a good agreement, which was negotiated properly in accordance with the red lines drawn by the British government," she said.

This is despite its repeated rejection by Parliament, and the two contenders in the Tory leadership race pledging to rewrite May's withdrawal deal.

Both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson have said they will rewrite May's Brexit deal should they become PM. Credit: PA

Ms von der Leyen has said the EU should be prepared to extend the Brexit deadline beyond October 31 if there were good reasons to do so.

"A Brexit without a deal comes with massively negative consequences for both sides, not to mention what it means for Ireland.

"That's why we need to do everything to strive for an orderly Brexit. And that's why if there are good reasons for an extension coming from our British friends, I am open to listening to them."

Ursula von der Leyen says a no-deal would be detrimental to both the EU and the UK. Credit: AP Images

She added: "It would be wrong to see Brexit only as the end of something.

"The way in which we carry out Brexit will determine our future relationship to our neighbour the United Kingdom. For both sides it is of the highest interest that there is an orderly and good beginning to our future relationships."