The U.K.’s vote to quit the European Union should not be associated with populist insurgencies elsewhere on the Continent, British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt told French public radio Tuesday.
“The real mistake is to confuse Brexit with right-wing populism,” he said in a morning interview on France Inter, partially in French and partially translated from English.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that, for years, we have not been very happy with the legal structures of the European Union, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t European, don’t share European values,” he added.
The British foreign minister also stressed to listeners in French the importance of negotiating exit terms before the U.K.’s scheduled departure in March 2019. “A no-deal Brexit will be a tragedy for Europe,” he said.
Hunt is in Paris to meet with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. A spokesperson from France’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the topics to be covered in their talks but Hunt and other ministers have been touring European capitals to sell the Brexit plan agreed by the U.K. government three weeks ago at the prime minister’s country residence Chequers.
Yesterday, Hunt was in China promoting post-Brexit trade, and the week before, he visited German officials in Berlin. His next stop is Vienna, where he will meet tomorrow with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl.