The President of the European Commission said Britain would need a “miracle” if it was to begin trade talks with the Brussels club by the end of October.
Speaking to Sky News, Leo Varadkar commented on Britain’s progress with the EU so far and whether trade negotiations would begin soon.
He said: “We don’t know yet, that is a matter that will be determined by the 27 heads of state of Government. We won’t be able to do that until late in October.”
When asked by the reported about Mr Juncker’s comments, the Irish Prime Minister issued a quip to the President of the European Commission.
“Well we will see, sometimes miracles happen in politics,” he added.
Speaking at the EU summit in Tallinn, Mr Juncker reiterated “significant progress” would have to be made on divorce negotiations before trade talks could start.
The European Union set out the issues of citizens rights, the Irish border and the divorce settlement would have to be agreed before significant progress was made.
Mr Juncker said: “By the end of October we will not have sufficient progress.
“At the end of this week I am saying that that there will be no sufficient progress from now until October unless miracles would happen.”
Theresa May insisted that Brexit negotiators had made “good progress” towards the issue of EU citizens.
Speaking to reporters, she said: “I value the contribution that EU citizens have made in the United Kingdom but I also want to see the rights of citizens that are living in other European Union countries have their rights guaranteed as well.
“The negotiations are about ensuring that we can give certainty and reassurance. That is what the negotiations are about. Good progress has been made on that issue.
“A week ago I gave a speech in Florence which set out how we have made good progress so far, I thought we could make further progress and moving on to looking at the future deep and special relationship and partnership that we want to build with the European Union when the UK has left the EU.
“I made that speech to give momentum to the talks and I think we have seen that being shown in the talks that have taken place this week and further progress has been made.”
The Prime Minister’s comments come after the fourth round of Brexit negotiations between David Davis and Michel Barnier came to a close on Thursday.
The Brexit Secretary claimed the teams had completed “very constructive” talks on the financial settlement, adding there was scope to “explore” a transitional deal.