Phil Hogan, EU’s trade chief said that there is “no real sign” that Britain wants the post-Brexit trade talks to succeed, and that progress made in negotiations is very slow.
“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,” the EU Commissioner told Irish national broadcaster RTE on Thursday.
Hogan echoed Michel Barnier’s views, who said that the UK is not willing “to commit seriously” to a number of fundamental points, including fisheries and a level playing field.
The Trade Commissioner also noted that British politicians have already decided to blame the Coronavirus pandemic for any post-Brexit economic fallout, adding that if there is no “step change” in the approach, the combination of the Covid-19 crisis and Brexit will be a major hit to the country’s economy “later in the year”, that could also affect Ireland.
The two sides still have two rounds of negotiations before June’s meeting between UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Extending the transition period due to end on December 31, is a prospect the UK has ruled out.
While it was Johnson who called for “significant progress” to be made until June, threatening to walk away from Brexit talks, the country still has to deliver negotiating texts on key areas.