A new year — a new EU President — same problem.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European commission, has told an audience at her alma mater, the LSE, it will be "impossible" for the UK to negotiate a comprehensive deal covering all aspects of Brexit within the time frame set by PM Boris Johnson.
"It is basically impossible to negotiate all," by the end of the year, she said, and as a result the EU will have to prioritise the elements of a deal to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU on World Trade Organization rules.
Whilst the government is briefing that it is not looking for close alignment in a future relationship, von der Leyen said, "The more divergence there is the more distant the partnership has to be."
"Without the freedom of movement of people, you cannot have the free movement of capital, goods and services.
"Without a level playing field on environment, labour, taxation and state aid, you cannot have highest-quality access to the world's largest single market."
You can pick her speech up after 10 mins in the video over.