Brexit: Britain's top diplomat wants to renegotiate with the EU


Are we headed for a resumption of negotiations between the United Kingdom and Europe? That's what Jeremy Hunt is hoping for. The British Foreign Secretary, candidate for the succession of Prime Minister Theresa May, said Sunday was convinced that it was possible to avoid a Brexit without agreement. It is Angela Merkel who would have given him this hope. The German chancellor "said that, of course, with a new British Prime Minister, we (the 27 other EU states, Ed) would like to consider all the solutions you have" to propose, he said on the Sky News television channel, recounting a conversation with Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the D-Day commemorations in Normandy.

"I am absolutely sure that if we adopt the right approach on this subject, the Europeans would be ready to negotiate," he added. The minister did not say whether he was referring to a renegotiation of the EU exit agreement between London and Brussels and rejected by the British Parliament – which the 27 do not intend to retouch – or the declaration political drawing the outlines of the post-Brexit relationship.

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The EU has laid down its conditions

The EU has indicated in the past that it is ready to discuss this statement again if London reconsiders its position on the customs union or access to the single market. The Brexit agreement contains, among other things, the highly controversial provision of the "safety net", or backstopwhich ultimately provides for the maintenance of the entire United Kingdom in a customs union to avoid a physical border in Ireland.

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According to Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor said European leaders could be open to a technological solution to the Irish border issue, a solution for the time being considered unrealistic by Brussels. "She told me that Germany has no border with the Republic of Ireland, you have it (…) so you have to find the solution," said the British minister. "This will be a technology-based solution, what the Germans call smart borders. I think it's feasible. "

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"The money will be kept"

Prime Minister Theresa May, who left Friday the head of the Conservative Party, remains head of government until the party designates by the end of July its new leader, who will immediately become the head of government.

Among the ten or so candidates, Boris Johnson, considered the favorite to succeed him, for his part warned that if he became Prime Minister, he would refuse that the United Kingdom pays the bill Brexit until the Union European Union accepts better withdrawal conditions. "Our friends and partners need to understand that the money will be kept until we have more clarity on the way forward," said this Brexit supporter in an interview with Sunday Times. "In a good deal, silver is an excellent solvent and a very good lubricant," added the former foreign minister.

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An amount not yet defined

The agreement between London and Brussels provides for the settlement of UK commitments under the current multiannual budget (2014-2020), which also covers the transition period provided for in the agreement. The text does not give figures for the invoice, but a method of calculation. The British government has proposed an amount between 40 and 45 billion euros, unconfirmed figures on the side of the EU.

"Bojo" (54) was one of the great architects of the Brexit victory in the June 2016 referendum. He wants the UK to leave the EU on October 31, renegotiated or not. Appreciated by the base of his party, it arouses however more contrasted reactions in the ranks of Tory deputies.

On June 7, the British court rejected the prosecution against him for lying during the Brexit referendum campaign. Boris Johnson was accused of knowingly lying when he was the mayor of London, saying that the UK was paying 350 million pounds (400 million euros) a week in Brussels.

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