EU trade official questions whether UK really wants Brexit deal

The EU's trade commissioner Phil Hogan speaks to the media. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA.

The EU's trade commissioner Phil Hogan speaks to the media. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA. - Credit: PA

EU's trade commissioner Phil Hogan has questioned whether the UK really wants a Brexit deal, and accused the government of lacking 'ambition' during talks.

After talks collapsed last week, Hogan claimed the EU has been trying to make progress in negotiations, but has struggled without any sign of success.

He says a deal is achievable between the two sides, but only if the UK shows signs of wanting one.

He told RTÉ: 'I still believe there will be a deal. The ambition of that deal on the European Union side is real.

'I don't see the same ambition at the moment on the UK's side so, the ball is in the UK's court, if they want a deal, there is a deal to be done.

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'Very little has happened in the last few months and there's a frustration on the EU side about the fact that the good faith in terms of the negotiations that's required on both sides is not happening to the extent that it should.

'Not any old deal will do.'

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Hogan said the divisions in talks remains over key issues including a level playing field, the European Court of Justice and fisheries - areas where the prime minister has placed red lines.

He warned that the clock is ticking and that there needs to be progress quickly to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

'Boris Johnson has explicitly stated that he wants a deal, so we need to see movement on the UK side soon or else it's going to be too late.'

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