Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini, left, shakes hands with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, during their press conference, in Vantaa, Finland, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP)

Britain: No Brexit deal would be "a huge strategic mistake"

August 15, 2018 - 6:41 am

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Wednesday it would be "a huge strategic mistake" if no deal is struck before Britain leaves the European Union in March — as his Latvian counterpart put the chances of a no-deal Brexit at 50-50.

Hunt said in Latvia's capital, Riga, that "we do not think that it would be in the interest of any European country whether inside or outside the EU."

He said "a growing number of countries (...) are keen for a pragmatic outcome."

Divorce talks between Britain and the bloc are stuck amid feuding within Britain's Conservative government about how close an economic relationship Britain should seek with the EU after it leaves. There is a growing fear that no deal will be reached before the U.K. leaves on March 29.

Businesses say that could mean huge disruption to trade and travel between Britain and the other 27 EU nations.

Hunt met with his with his Latvian counterpart, Edgars Rinkevics, on Wednesday, continuing his three-day tour of European capitals to discuss Britain's withdrawal.

Earlier, Rinkevics told the BBC that "at this point, I would rate it 50-50" that there would not be a Brexit deal. He said that was "a very considerable risk" but he remained optimistic that agreement would be reached.

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