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Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff has warned that Brexit “will never be a success” and that it is a “sad and sorry event” for both the UK and EU.

In an interview with Politico, Martin Selmayr said that Brexit could not be beneficial to either Brussels or London, and said the best both sides could hope for is that it is “managed in a professional and pragmatic way.”

He acknowledged there had been “havoc” surrounding Mr Juncker’s dinner with Theresa May, which led to a substantial leak of the pair’s conversation, but insisted that it was a “constructive dialogue”.

Mr Selmayr also insisted that the European Commission will not solely focus its energy on Brexit over the coming months. ““Brexit will come up every three or four months, but in the meantime we will work on other topics,” he said.

“These negotiations will be very hard work and Michel Barnier will be tasked to lead them. The president of the European Commission will not spend more than half an hour per week on this subject [Brexit].”

His comments come after Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, scolded the UK for its “illusions” that Brexit could be “painless” on Wednesday morning. He also insisted that there would be no discussion of a future relationship until the UK settled the terms of its divorce.

“The clock is ticking,” said Mr Barnier.

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