The European Union’s Commissioner for Trade has said that a free trade deal with post-Brexit Britain will happen “for sure”, according to reports.
The Telegraph is reporting that Cecilia Malmstrom told a conference in Copenhagen that Brexit is “unchartered territory but I’m sure we will resolve it. We will have a free trade agreement, that is for sure.”
Mrs Malmstrom’s statement wasn’t in tune with other EU leaders, who’ve remained silent on the matter, pointing out that negotiations have yet to begin.
In their draft negotiation guidelines, the European Council opted for a “phased approach” to negotiations. Meaning that while it will be forbidden at the beginning, Britain will be allowed to start negotiating on a future trade deal before exit negotiations are over, so long as the European Council is happy with progress made in the first (exit) phase. The guidelines are set to be finalised this Saturday.
The phased approach laid out in the draft guidelines was seen as an easing of the EU’s position, as some some officials had previously suggested no trade deal until the mid-to-late 2020’s.
Today’s comments by the EU’s top trade spokeswoman will come as a further boost for Downing Street.