Japan, EU working to stop no-deal Brexit: Dutch PM

Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Japan and EU powers are working 'very hard' to prevent Britain leaving the bloc without a deal (AFP Photo/Aris Oikonomou)

Rotterdam (Netherlands) (AFP) - Japan and EU powers are working "very hard" to prevent Britain leaving the bloc without a deal, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Wednesday with his visiting Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

Rutte said he was also working closely with European powers Germany and France to help British Prime Minister Theresa May get the withdrawal agreement through parliament next week.

"I completely agree with prime minister Abe that we have to prevent a no-deal Brexit and we are working very hard not to come to a no-deal Brexit," Rutte told a joint press conference with Abe in the port city of Rotterdam.

Abe travels to London on Thursday to meet May, who looks likely to lose a defining parliamentary vote next week on the withdrawal agreement that she reached with the EU in November.

"I am at this moment working very hard in close conjunction with the French and the Germans and others to help my British colleague to bring the vote next week to a successful outcome," Rutte said.

The Dutch premier however warned that the current deal with the EU was the "best deal" available given Britain's red lines, particularly on the future of the Irish border.

He said the decision ultimately rested with the British parliament but "we will continue to work closely with Theresa May to help in whatever way we can in the run-up to that vote."

For his part, Abe noted that Brexit would have a "great impact" on the many Japanese firms that have invested in Britain as well as on the European economy as a whole.

"Our country believes that, in order to minimise the impact Brexit will have on the global economy, it is indispensable to secure legal stability by having transparency and predictability and setting up a transition period," Abe said.

"We hope a no-deal exit will be avoided and Britain's exit from the EU will be conducted smoothly," concluded the Japanese PM.