Barroso, who served as EU Commission president for 10 years ending in 2014, said Tuesday that it was in the interest of both the UK and the EU to agree to a delay of Brexit as it would be highly unlikely for them to secure a divorce deal by March 29, the date on which Britain is expected to leave the EU, Presstv Reported.
The comments come despite repeated statements by British Prime Minister Theresa May that she would bring the UK out of the EU at the end of March even if a deal is not ready by then. May has been trying to go through the British parliament with a deal she signed with the EU in November.
However, both British MPs and EU officials have resisted her calls for a compromise, making many to believe that the only remaining option for London would be to implement a no-deal Brexit at the end of March.
However, Barroso, a former Portuguese prime minister, said time was not ripe for any sort of Brexit and that the EU and UK needed more preparations.
“Even if there was a positive deal now, from a practical point of view, it’s obvious that everything is not ready,” Barroso told the Sky news, adding, “I think the most likely scenario is not to do that in March of this year. We need more... preparations.”
British lawmakers rejected May’s Brexit deal on January 15, forcing her to seek concessions from the EU that could make the agreement acceptable for the parliament.
The EU has largely ignored May’s demands, especially on a controversial clause on the future of the Irish border.
Officials in Brussels have said they would only be ready to introduce changes to a separate document accompanying the Brexit deal which sets out terms for future EU-UK relations.