The Euro could “collapse” within the next 18 months, the man tipped as the next US ambassador to Brussels has claimed, adding that he would “short” the EU single currency if he was an investor.

Prof Ted Malloch, a former Oxford University professor now at University of Reading, added that the UK and US could cut a bilateral trade deal inside 90 days and that elections in Europe this year could sweep away the EU as we know it.

“The one thing I would do in 2017 is short the euro,” Mr Malloch told the BBC, “I think it is a currency that is not only in demise, but has a real problem and could in fact collapse in the coming year, year and a half.”

Mr Malloch, a eurosceptic French and German speaker who has ties to the Roosevelt family, has reportedly interviewed for the EU ambassador role and is expected to be appointed following the confirmation of Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state-elect.

He dismissed the objections of experts that that a US-UK trade deal would rapidly get bogged down in difficult disputes over agriculture, reciprocal access for financial service industries and healthcare privatisation and genetically modified foods.

“Some of us who have worked on Wall Street or in the City know that if you get the right people in the right room with the right data and the right energy, and Trump is certainly high energy, you can get things done,” he said.

The 64-year-old academic was reportedly recommended to Mr Trump by Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader who backed Mr Trump at a crisis moment in his campaign and has retained close ties to the administration.

“I personally am not certain that there will be a European Union with which to have [free trade] negotiations”

Mr Malloch, who is a longstanding supporter of the World Economic Forum and CEO of Global Fiduciary Governance LLC, a strategic advisory firm, also predicted that Brussels would back down over its refusal to negotiate an early trade deal with Britain.

At present EU leaders are sticking to the position that they will only commence trade negotiations after Britain has completed the two-year Article 50 divorce process, and not before.

“I think it is an absurd proposition and may be a legalism,” he said. “There are going to be all kinds of things happening behind closed doors and you can call them what you like.”

In any event, added Mr Malloch, by the time the EU-UK negotiations reach crunch point, the European Union might look very different than it does today, as current political realities are shaken up by populist forces in the Netherlands, France and Germany.

“I personally am not certain that there will be a European Union with which to have [free trade] negotiations,” he said.