May 7, 2020 / 11:35 AM / a month ago

No sign Britain wants EU trade talks to succeed - EU trade chief

DUBLIN, May 7 (Reuters) - There is no real sign that Britain is approaching trade talks with the European Union with a plan to succeed and it appears set to blame any post-Brexit fallout on the economic shock from COVID-19, the EU’s trade chief said on Thursday.

“Despite the urgency and enormity of the negotiating challenge, I am afraid we are only making very slow progress in the Brexit negotiations. 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,” European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan told Irish national broadcaster RTE.

“I think that the United Kingdom politicians and government have certainly decided that COVID is going to be blamed for all the fallout from Brexit and my perception of it is they don’t want to drag the negotiations out into 2021 because they can effectively blame COVID for everything.” (Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries Editing by Gareth Jones)

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