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20 June 2019

BBC: Brexit would 'diminish' UK, says Dutch PM Mark Rutte

Mark Rutte told the BBC the UK, outside the EU, would not be "big enough" to play a role on the world stage.

He also said the withdrawal agreement could not be renegotiated by the autumn.

Changes could be made to the political declaration if the UK tells the EU how it wants to deal with the Irish border, he said.

However, he added there was "no point" in further negotiations, unless the UK changed its red lines. [...]

"I hate Brexit from every angle, I hate no-deal Brexit from every angle," he said.

Asked about a second referendum he said: "I've stopped dreaming - we have to avoid a hard Brexit now."

Outside the EU, the UK will "not be big enough to have an important position on the world's stage", he said.

Responding to suggestions the EU could agree a transition period in the event of a no deal scenario, he said: "Hard Brexit is hard Brexit, I don't see how you can sweeten it."

He warned against implementing a time limit on the Irish backstop - as some Tory leadership candidates have proposed.

"That would mean a hard border, and that would mean an end to the Good Friday Agreement and back to the Troubles," he said.

Full article on BBC

© BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation

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