00:29 GMT28 February 2021
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    Brexit is unlikely to lead to mass exodus of member nations from the bloc, Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) member and former presidential candidate Norbert Hofer told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union is unlikely to cause a domino effect triggering a mass exodus of member nations from the bloc, Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) member and former presidential candidate Norbert Hofer told Sputnik on Thursday.

    “First of all, I would like to note that I highly appreciate when the will of the people prevails through a referendum… I do not think that the British decision to exit will have an impact on other countries whether they wish to remain a part of the EU or whether they wish to use an exit plan as a threat in order to negotiate better conditions within the EU,” Hofer said.

    The United Kingdom is preparing to trigger article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March. Prime Minister Theresa May has stressed that the country would not seek access to the EU single market trade area, instead prioritizing migration control.

    As Brexit looms with the future EU-UK trade deal uncertain, it is nevertheless important to maintain good economic relations across the English Channel, Hofer, who narrowly lost the 2016 presidential election after running on an anti-migration and eurosceptic platform, added.

    "It is important to remember one thing that when the United Kingdom leaves the EU, it will remain a part of Europe. Good economic relations are very important for both sides," he said.

    In her Brexit plan, outlined earlier this month, May expressed hope the United Kingdom would manage to agree on zero tariffs with the European Union and continue to cooperate in certain areas.

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    Tags:
    European Union, referendum, Brexit, Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), Norbert Hofer, United Kingdom, Austria
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