Britain’s top diplomat has called on the European Union to urgently change their approach to Brexit or face the turmoil of a “no-deal by accident,” saying the UK public will blame EU for no-deal Brexit.
The warning was made Monday in Berlin by Britain’s new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who replaced Boris Johnson earlier this month after he resigned over UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s new Brexit proposals.
With just eight months left before Britain’s exit from the EU, Hunt delivered a caution to the most powerful European Union power during his first overseas trip as British foreign minister.
“When it comes to Brexit, there is now a very real risk of a Brexit no-deal by accident,” he told a news conference alongside his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
“I think that many people in the EU are thinking that they just have to wait long enough and Britain will blink. And that’s not going to happen,” Hunt said.
Both London and Brussels hope to get a final Brexit deal in October to give enough time to ratify it by Brexit day on March 29, 2019, though few diplomats expect the deal to be struck until months later.
Supporters of Brexit acknowledge there may be some short-term problems for Britain’s $2.9 trillion economy, but that long-term it will prosper when cut free from the EU which they cast as a failing German-dominated experiment in European integration.
Hunt said the UK public will blame the EU for the lack of a Brexit deal, and while damaging for Britain, and would provoke a backlash in Britain against the bloc.
He that only Russian President Vladimir Putin would rejoice at the turmoil of a “no-deal.”
“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.
About 52 percent of Britain’s total $1.1 trillion trade in goods last year was with the EU and some investors have said such a chaotic scenario would seriously damage both the economies of Britain and the EU over the short term.
EU countries will suffer long-term damage equivalent to about 1.5 percent of annual economic output if Britain leaves the bloc without a free trade deal next year, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.