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British foreign minister warns of no-deal Brexit risk

  • Published at 12:59 pm July 23rd, 2018
Jeremy Hunt-GERMANY-BRITAIN-EU-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt gestures during a joint press conference with his German counterpart, at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, on July 23, 2018 AFP

Hunt's pro-Brexit predecessor Boris Johnson resigned last week

Britain's new Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said on Monday there was a risk of no-deal Brexit if EU negotiators waited too long for Britain to "blink," as the deadline for an agreement nears.

In Berlin on his first foreign visit since being appointed, Hunt said Germany was "one of Britain's best friends in the world" and they shared a commitment to a rules-based international order.

But all that could be upset by a chaotic exit from the bloc.

"When it comes to Brexit there is a very real risk of a Brexit no-deal by accident," he told a news conference alongside his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

Hunt's pro-Brexit predecessor Boris Johnson resigned last week.

With a little more than eight months to go before Britain is due to leave, negotiators remain deeply divided over what form Brexit should take.

"I think that many people in the EU are thinking that they just have to wait long enough and Britain will blink," Hunt said.

"My real concern is that (a chaotic Brexit) would change British public attitudes to Europe for a generation and would lead to a fissure in relations that would be highly damaging."

Maas said Germany did not want a disorderly Brexit.

"We want an agreement. And we also know that for that we have to make steps toward each other," he said, adding that the EU's collective interests had to be defended. 

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