Ursula von der Leyen: hard Brexit would be massive blow for both sides

Exclusive: newly elected EU chief suggests there could be emergency help for Ireland

The European commission’s new president has said a hard Brexit would have “massively negative consequences” for both Britain and the EU, and said Brussels could provide emergency help for nations such as Ireland that bear the brunt of such an outcome.

In her first interview since narrowly being approved for the post by the European parliament on Tuesday, Ursula von der Leyen said the withdrawal deal concluded between Theresa May and the commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michael Barnier, would remain the basis of any future talks.

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