Denmark’s pensions and insurance industry association says keeping a good trading relationship with the UK is an important priority for the Nordic country in the wake of last week’s referendum result, which favoured the UK’s breaking away from the European Union (EU).

In an interview in local media, Per Bremer Rasmussen, chief executive at Forsikring & Pension (F&P), the Danish pensions and insurance association, said: “The biggest question of all now, after the British have said ‘leave’, is what the Leave side means.”

He said ascertaining what the British people really wanted was the first step.

“It is completely unclear what they want to fight for, so the big uncertainty is what Great Britain wants now,” Bremer Rasmussen said in an interview with Danish news service FinansWatch, and confirmed by F&P.

He said he did not expect the UK to sign up to the European Economic Area agreement because there were many obligations included in this cooperation – the free movement of labour, among other things.

“It is important we think beyond our immediate, short-term situation – that we think about what is best for Europe and what is best for Denmark in the long term, and that is to make sure we can get as free a trading cooperation with the British as possible,” he said.

He acknowledged, however, that this could be difficult to secure, as there are so many different elements involved when such a free-trade agreement is negotiated.

British fisheries policy, for example, could prove to be a sticking point in such a deal, he said, but he added that he hoped it could be done anyway.

“My call to those who now have to sit down and negotiate is that this situation should have as little a negative impact as possible, and that we will do everything we can to ensure the UK continues to be a key partner in Europe, and that we can maintain a smooth trading relationship with the British,” Bremer Rasmussen said.