Kris Peeters told Sky News’ Niall Paterson that Belgium could lose up to 40,000 jobs in a no deal Brexit scenario. He added that the EU needs one clear negotiator and that the German Chancellor and President of France should not try and influence Mr Barnier.
Mr Peeters said: “I am against Brexit of course because I fear for the citizens in the UK and also the citizens and companies in Europe, certainly Belgium.
“It is a very bad solution, if there is a hard Brexit more than 40,000 jobs are in danger in Belgium.
“A soft Brexit will also bring some negative effects to our companies and exporters.
“I hope that we find a solution and that we can work together in the future.”
Mr Paterson asked: “In terms of the pressures on the EU 27, it does seem like there is a growing tension between the French and the Germans on this?”
Mr Peeters said: “I think the 27 EU member states are sticking together and that is a good situation.
“Sometimes I think negotiators are trying to divide the European Union but at the moment it is not the case.
“The EU must have one position, one negotiator, Michel Barnier and one team to negotiate.
“And despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile.
“We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached.”
Last week the UK’s Prime Minister criticised the European Union for attempting to tie Britain’s hands with the trade agreement.