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Britain heading toward a hard Brexit: EU commissioner

European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen listens China's Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China June 25, 2018. Fred Dufour/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain appears to be rushing toward a hard “no deal” Brexit because the British parliament cannot agree on clear alternatives, European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said on Thursday.

“Hard Brexit is increasingly possible because we don’t know what the alternative is,” Katainen told a news conference, adding that if there was no British backing for the withdrawal agreement then there would be few options left.

“You only know what Britain doesn’t want, but you don’t know what Britain wants and, taking into account the limited number of days we have available, it is logical to think we are rushing toward a hard Brexit. But hopefully I am wrong,” the Commission vice president continued.

Katainen was speaking at a news conference on EU Brexit preparations for continued trade in health and food products.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Robin Emmott