‘EU is now willing to re-open Brexit deal’

Hunt quotes conversation with Merkel

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, a contender to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, said on Sunday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had indicated that the European Union (EU) was willing to renegotiate the Brexit divorce deal.

Mr. Hunt said he spoke with Ms. Merkel at this week’s D-Day commemorations and was convinced changing Ms. May’s agreement was possible.

“She said that of course with a new British Prime Minister we would want to look at any solutions you have,” he told Sky News. “I’m absolutely clear that if we take the right approach to this, the Europeans would be willing to negotiate on the package.” Mr. Hunt did not specify if he was referring to the withdrawal agreement which the EU has repeatedly insisted cannot be re-opened, or to the accompanying political declaration on future relations.

Meanwhile, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace Ms. May as Conservative leader and Prime Minister, said in an interview published on Sunday that he would refuse to pay Britain’s £39 billion divorce bill until the EU agrees better withdrawal terms. He also signalled that he would scrap the backstop and try to settle the border issue once London and Brussels were negotiating their future relationship.

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