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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
EU Trade Commissioner

UK is showing 'no real sign' they want Brexit trade talks to succeed, says Phil Hogan

“I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think so,” the EU trade commissioner said.

THE EU TRADE Commissioner Phil Hogan has said that the UK has shown “no real sign” that they want the trade negotiations to succeed, or culminate in a deal.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke programme, Phil Hogan said: “There is no real sign that our British friends are approaching the negotiations with a plan to succeed.

“I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think so.”

He added that the British government and politicians “have certainly decided that Covid is going to be blamed for all the fallout from Brexit”.

“My perception of it is they don’t want to drag the negotiations out into 2021 because they can effectively blame Covid for everything.”

Speaking to a House of Commons committee last week, senior minister Michael Gove said that the EU negotiating team “regard the UK not as a sovereign state, but on the path to EU membership”, instead of a member state leaving the EU.

He also said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the organisations arguing for an extension because of the Covid-19 pandemic, had argued for an extension before, “so that while things have changed, they also have not changed”.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney told the Dáil that his hopes for the next round of negotiations was “not good”, based on the evidence so far.

“The EU has said that we need a comprehensive agreement that involves multiple different areas that are all interconnected from level playing field, to fishing, to market access, to ensuring we tariff free and quota free trade, and a whole range of other things.

The UK have decided to take a different approach – to break it up into different segments and negotiate them separately, picking the ones that are most important to them for now. The EU cannot do a deal on that basis.

“The easy thing is to call for an extension,” he said, adding that they have to think of a way that’s politically palatable for them to accept an extension, but they are “unlikely” to get a request for more time from the UK.

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