Britain cannot negotiate new trade deals until it leaves the EU, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said on Monday after US President-elect Donald Trump backed a speedy trade agreement with London.
“I would like to specify one thing that we discussed also with (British foreign minister) Boris Johnson on Monday and he was agreeing with me,” Federica Mogherini told reporters when asked about Trump’s comments in two European newspapers.
“It’s absolutely clear on the EU side that as long as a country is a member state of the EU, which is something the UK is at the moment, seven months after the referendum, still... there are no negotiations bilaterally on any trade agreement with third parties,” she added.
“This is in the treaties and this is valid for all member states as long as they remain member states, until the very last day.”
Trump told The Times and Bild newspapers that Brexit would be a “great thing”, and on a trade deal said he would “work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly.”
Johnson had said earlier Monday it was “very good news that the United States of America wants to do a good free trade deal with us and wants to do it very fast.”
Mogherini also rejected Trump’s prediction that other countries would follow Britain’s lead in voting to leave the European Union.
“I think the European Union will stick together, I’m 100 percent convinced of this,” she said after EU foreign ministers met in Brussels.
“I respect the opinions of the future president of the United States... but I think the EU will be okay in the future.”