Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt says he wants to maintain a “friendly relationship” with the European Union, weeks after he was reported to have said the UK should seek a closer trading ties to the bloc.

“The events of the last year have demonstrated that we are interdependent,” he told the Financial Times at its event on Friday. “It’s going to be a friendly relationship with our neighbors.” 

A newspaper report of his private views about UK-EU ties sparked concern among some Conservative lawmakers that the government would try to soften the Brexit deal it agreed three years ago. Though both Hunt and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak quickly refuted the possibility, questions have continued.

On Friday, Hunt insisted the UK will have an independent trade policy and make regulations in the national interest. But he also likened the UK and the EU to Canada’s relationship with the US and Australia’s with New Zealand.

“Britain remains a committed European country,” he told the newspaper.

The comments come on the same day the UK unveiled a set of financial services reforms that are unlikely to deliver the dramatic reshaping of the industry that some of the most ardent Brexit supporters envisioned.

The measures include relaxing ring-fencing capital rules to lighten the burden on smaller banks and plans to replace EU regulation in areas such as disclosure for financial products, the Treasury said. The government also said it will overhaul “overbearing EU rules which put companies off listing in the UK.” 

Hunt said the UK could or should have done “plenty of things” on the list while it was still an EU member, though the chancellor said Brexit had given the government “more latitude” to alter regulations more quickly.