The chance of a no-deal Brexit is “50-50”, Latvia’s foreign minister has warned.
Edgars Rinkevics’ comments came as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt began a three-day visit to meet counterparts in Finland, Latvia, Denmark and the Netherlands in a bid to encourage them to back the Government’s Brexit plans.
Mr Rinkevics said there was a “very considerable risk” of a no-deal scenario in Britain’s withdrawal from the EU but said he remained optimistic that an agreement could be reached.
He added that the UK Government’s more detailed position laid out in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Chequers plan “constitutes a good ground for really trying hard to reach a deal”.
Asked about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, Mr Rinkevics told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Frankly at this point, I would rate it 50-50… well, I think that 50-50 is a very considerable risk if that were to be, let’s say, a 70-30 that we get a deal, I would be very satisfied. But of course, from our point of view, as you know, the EU is united at 27.
“We also are satisfied to see that there is (a) more detailed position of the British Government, that constitutes a good ground for really trying hard to reach a deal. So having said 50-50, I would say I’m remaining optimistic.”
MORE: ‘I stared death in the face’: Truck driver describes his miraculous escape from Genoa bridge collapse
MORE: Gang of 31 people charged with rape and trafficking of girls as young as 12 in Huddersfield
Mr Rinkevics said his country was “satisfied” with the preliminary agreement reached between the UK and the EU in relation to the rights of EU nationals.
He said: “I think that we are at a very critical point… I believe that both the EU and UK need to have extra effort to reach some kind of deal by October because I believe that it is in the best interests of both the UK and EU.
He added: “However I also think that only now the British public, the British Government understand how complex, how difficult this kind of Brexit is, it is very difficult also to build the future relationship, but Latvia is very interested in having a deal, not only when it comes to trade, but also security, co-ordination of foreign and defence policy between the UK and EU.”