Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted that “we can have a deal” on Brexit ahead of the Halloween deadline.
But the European Commission president was unable to put the prospects at more than 50/50 when asked by Sky News in an interview broadcast on Thursday.
Mr Juncker met with Boris Johnson in Luxembourg for Brexit discussions on Monday, before the British Prime Minister headed for his ill-fated meeting with his Luxembourg counterpart Xavier Bettel.
The EU chief insisted his meeting with the PM was “rather positive”, adding: “We can have a deal.”
But when pressed by the broadcaster if the chances were more than 50/50, he replied: “I don’t know.”
He assured that he is “doing everything to have a deal” because he wanted to ward off a no deal with “catastrophic consequences”.
“It’s better for Britain and for the European Union to have an organised deal,” he added.
Mr Juncker reassured that he has no “emotional relationship” with the Irish backstop, which aims to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland but has been a major sticking point to getting a deal through Parliament.
“If the objectives are met – all of them – then we don’t need the backstop,” he added.