Government is planing to blame coronavirus for Brexit failures, claims EU official

PUBLISHED: 15:35 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:38 07 May 2020

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.

PA Archive/PA Images

Britain has shown ‘no real sign’ of approaching the Brexit talks with a ‘plan to succeed’ and is planning to blame the failure on coronavirus, the EU’s trade commissioner has claimed.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.

Phil Hogan claimed Westminster has decided Covid-19 is “going to be blamed for all the fallout” from Brexit, as he bemoaned the “very slow progress” in the current negotiations.

He also warned change is required otherwise a combination of the coronavirus and Brexit will result in an “almighty blow to the UK economy later this year”, which will “spill over” to other countries - including Ireland.

Hogan, speaking to RTE, said: “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.


Have your say

Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing letters@theneweuropean.co.uk and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.


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

Hogan said the UK needs to outline further details about what it wants to achieve, and the EU is “serious” about a deal.

You may also want to watch:

He went on: “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.”

Downing Street rejected Hogan’s assessment, insisting the UK was approaching the talks “constructively” but the EU needed to understand it was dealing with an “independent state”.

It has insisted the transition period will not be extended beyond 2020, despite officials in London and Brussels admitting there has been little progress in the two rounds of formal talks held so far.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “I don’t accept that at all.

“We look forward to negotiating constructively in the next round beginning on May 11.

“We are ready to keep talking with the EU but that will not make us any more likely to agree to the EU’s proposals in certain areas which are unprecedented and do not take account of the fact that we have left the EU as an independent state.

“We will continue to negotiate constructively to find a balanced solution which reflects the political realities on both sides.”

Stumbling blocks include “level playing field” provisions on issues including subsidies and standards “which they do not require of other independent nations”, such as Canada and on fishing, where the EU’s stance “takes no account of the fact that we will become an independent coastal state”, the spokesman said.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £20

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest pro-European campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.