08:22 GMT +319 July 2018
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    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond arrives in 10 Downing Street in central London

    UK's Hammond Dismisses Fears of Other EU States Leaving Bloc as 'Paranoia'

    © AFP 2018 / ANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS
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    Brexit negotiations that started on June 19 between the UK and the EU entered its second phase in December, with the parties having to discuss acute issues such as the transition period their relations and future long-term trade and security cooperation.

    The current stance of European leaders toward future relations with the Britain lacks enthusiasm and is marked by "paranoia," UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said in an interview to the German newspaper Die Welt.

    "We hear a willingness and enthusiasm in the USA and from many other countries around the world to make new trade deals with us," Hammond said. "But we don't hear that from Europe. We hear from Europe only backward-looking stuff. ‘Are you sure you want to leave?' Or, ‘it's a bad decision to leave.' Or, ‘you must be punished for deciding to leave,'" the top official concluded.

    The Chancellor described as "paranoia" fears that in the event of a too soft Brexit, other countries of the bloc may want to follow London's example.

    "I can understand that paranoia. But imagine you are running a successful, thriving club. If one member leaves, you don't immediately panic that all the other members might leave, but are confident they will want to remain," Hammond told the outlet.

    While speaking about a possible free trade agreement with the EU, Hammond reiterated London's demands that the country would need access for its services to the single market.

    "In our goods trade with the rest of the EU, we have an annual deficit of €100bn whilst we have a surplus of €40bn in our trade in services. To enter into an agreement on goods with no agreement on services would be a very one-sided arrangement and I don't think that could be attractive for us."

    The top official noted that more than 80% of Britain's economy was based on services and the country's future growth depended on this sector.

    He further noted that he liked the current phase of Brexit negotiations.

    READ MORE: Stanley Johnson: 'Impossible to Imagine That You Could Have New Brexit Vote'

    Earlier the week, Hammond had a private meeting in Berlin with business leaders, where he called for a more creative solution, adding that it didn't lie in the hands of the UK alone. 

    The meeting was prompted by the EU move, in which the bloc notified 15 European industries, from airlines to mineral water producers, to brace themselves for regulatory havoc in March if Britain exits the bloc without a deal.

    Landmark Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union started on June 19 and are set to last until March 2019. Recently the parties moved onto the second phase of the talks, scheduled for March 2018, focusing on the transition period in EU-UK relations after Brexit, and their future long-term trade and security cooperation.

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