The UK’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is urging European Union member heavyweights France and Germany to try to force the European commission to strike a “sensible and pragmatic” Brexit deal.
Ahead of talks with his opposite number in Paris, Hunt criticised Brussels for playing a game of waiting for Britain “to blink” in negotiations. He said the chances of the UK leaving the EU without a deal were “increasing by the day”.
“That is just a profound misunderstanding of us as a nation,” he said. “There is real chance of no deal by accident. Everyone is assuming, no, no, no, this will never happen. Well, actually, it could.”
As reported by The Guardian, Hunt’s warning came as the Élysée Palace announced that British Prime Minister Theresa May would join the French president, Emmanuel Macron, at his summer home, Fort de Brégançon, in the south of France on Friday when her holiday in the Italian lakes comes to an end.
In an interview before his trip to France, Hunt warned the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, that his approach to the talks would inflict a “breakdown in relations and trust” between Britain and the continent, which would be a “profound geostrategic mistake”.
“The probability of no deal is increasing by the day until we see a change of approach from the European commission, who have this view that they just need to wait and Britain will blink,” he told the Evening Standard.
“France and Germany have to send a strong signal to the commission that we need to negotiate a pragmatic and sensible outcome that protects jobs on both sides of the Channel, because for every job lost in the UK, there will be jobs lost in Europe as well if Brexit goes wrong.”
According to The Guardian, Brussels insiders have repeatedly pointed out that Barnier and his negotiating team is only acting on the orders of France, Germany and the rest of the 27 EU countries. Any inflexibility originates from the nation states.