European Union officials say they fear Hungary may help British Prime Minister Boris Johnson crash out of the alliance without a deal by refusing to join colleagues in approving an extension of the Oct. 31 deadline.
Johnson has indicated he might ignore a Parliamentary resolution directing him to seek a deadline extension, something most of the other 27 EU members have indicated they could accept. Johnson has said he'd rather be "dead in a ditch" than extend the deadline to negotiate a divorce from the alliance.
British voters approved a 2016 referendum pulling out of the EU, but Parliament rejected a deal worked out by former Prime Minister Theresa May. Johnson has long said he wouldn't mind a no-deal Brexit despite a government assessment warning of food and fuel shortages, civil unrest and other problems.
Bloomberg reported Friday EU officials acknowledge there's little they can do if Humgarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban sides with Johnson.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said other EU members also might consider rejecting a delay.
"A few large western European member states really want to put an end to this and want it decided one way or another, so probably it won't be our decision that will be key on this issue," he told Bloomberg.
All 27 remaining members of the alliance would have to vote in favor of a delay for it to be granted.
Parliament has been bucking Johnson's approach. In addition to adopting the deadline extension resolution, it thwarted Johnson's effort to call new elections. Johnson then suspended Parliament until Oct. 14 but has since been overruled by the courts. He's resisted calling the body back into session, saying he'd wait for the Supreme Court to decide the issue.
U.K. grocers have begun sounding the alarm over a no-deal Brexit.
"Should the U.K. leave the EU without a deal, we expect the effect to be significant and it will not be possible to mitigate that impact," Charlie Mayfield, chairman of high-end grocer John Lewis Partnership, said in the outlook section of its earnings statement.
Meanwhile, Johnson and his ministers are trying to minimize the impact of a no-deal Brexit, arguing significant steps have been taken the ease the effects.
Pauline Bastidon of the U.K. logistics trade group Freight Transport Association told the Financial Times it's a "painfully slow process and there are still many gaps."
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