Muslim Times(Web Desk) – British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has warned the European Union that its refusal to move from its “hard-line negotiating position” is a “nonstrategic mistake.”
Hunt has gone on the offensive during a tour of Europe in an effort to pile pressure on EU leaders to engage with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s new softer Brexit offer.
The process of Britain negotiating to leave the EU bloc has been the biggest political hurdle for May’s government as she has struggled to finalize the unprecedented exit negotiations.
How the UK will leave the EU and what kind of future trade and bilateral relations the two sides will have all have yet to be decided.
Following a trip to France, Hunt headed to Austria, which currently holds the post of EU presidency.
Hunt told his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl on Wednesday: “Let’s not make this one of those moments where a terrible mistake is made which we are still talking about in 20 or 30 years.”
Hunt also emphasized that the Brexit process is currently “heading for no deal by accident.”
Karin Kneissl, the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, responded by saying: “We pursue a pragmatic approach.”
Hunt’s strong rhetoric in Austria comes amid reports that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering whether to offer the UK a Brexit deal so as to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU with a no-deal scenario.
A no-deal would mean the UK leaves the EU without any trade relations or tariffs agreement. This would make the exchange of goods, including food and medicines, between the two sides extremely difficult and expensive.
With the negotiations deadline fast approaching and a clear lack of progress made in the talks, many have begun to speculate that a no-deal scenario is growing more and more likely.
However, Prime Minister May may now be feeling emboldened after Hunt managed to convince Chinese leaders to open talks with the UK over a trade deal which could compensate for the disappointing trade talks with both the EU and the Trump White House.
Hunt’s charm offensive in Asia has been tipped to bring about a “golden era” of trade with China but has also caused concern of a backlash from the anti-China Trump administration.