x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

UK's new foreign minister warns of no-deal Brexit risk

Jeremy Hunt said crashing out without a deal would be highly damaging

Britain's foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt during a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas. AFP
Britain's foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt during a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas. AFP

Britain's 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, Mr 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.

Mr 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.

_______________

Read more:

Aviation majors' reliance on smaller suppliers a risk with Brexit

UK's May demands new deal from EU on Irish border backstop

EU urging members to step up plans for no-deal Brexit

_______________

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

Mr 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.