The U.K. cannot expect to leave the single market and keep all of its trade benefits, the European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday.
Barnier told an EU business forum in Brussels that "frictionless trade" between Europe and the U.K. would "not (be) possible" if the U.K. decided to leave the EU's single market. He added that the U.K. had "more to lose than its partners" if it took this direction.
"I have heard some people in the U.K. argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits – that is not possible," he said at the meeting.
The chief negotiator said that leaving without a deal would not be beneficial to either party in the divorce talks. But he said the EU would be ready for "all eventualities," including the possibility of failing to reach a deal.
"We want to be ready for all eventualities, including 'no deal', a possibility that has been mentioned again recently by several British ministers," he said. "In practice, 'no deal' would worsen the 'lose-lose' situation which is bound to result from Brexit. And the U.K. would have more to lose than its partners."