The European Union wants wants its relationship with the United Kingdom to remain “as close as possible” following the Brexit trade negotiations, European trade commissioner Phil Hogan has said.
Speaking to reporters in Dublin on Friday, Mr Hogan said the commission would have a better idea of what its negotiating position is likely to be once the outcome of next week’s UK general election becomes clear.
Asked if a trade deal could be sealed within a year, as British prime minister Boris Johnson has claimed during the campaign, the former Fine Gael minister replied: “I think that we can have a political agreement certainly within a year”.
Mr Hogan said the commission has been ready “for a while” to enter negotiations on a future trading relationship with the UK.
“We’re up and running, we’re ready for a while because we had plenty of time to wait around until the House of Commons made up its mind to what it wants,” he said.
“When we see the results of the British election next week and when we see what’s going to happen in the House of Commons, well then we will know what our negotiating position will be for the future relationship.
We want as close as possible a relationship between the EU and the UK at the end of any trade negotiation.”
Separately, Mr Hogan said the EU “shares a lot of concerns” the US has in relation to the effectiveness and efficiency of the World Trade Organisation and also “the need for a level playing field for trading from China, especially in the technological area”.
“There are concerns that we share with the United States and I would be hoping that the United States will sit down with the European Union and work together to find solutions rather than engaging in confrontation,” he said.