Monday, 15 October, 2018

Merkel wants dialogue before Brexit negotiations

Mikhail Khodorkovsky Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Lance Thomas | 28 April, 2017, 04:48

Mrs Merkel said: "We will of course do everything to minimise possible negative effects of Brexit for our citizens".

The UK also can not be under any illusions that it will retain the same rights and privileges as a member of the bloc, according to the German Chancellor.

Minutes before the Chancellor spoke, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was pressed in an interview whether trade would have to wait until the divorce bill was settled and he responded: "We'll see".

She says the United Kingdom has "illusions" about the process and that the 27 member states of the European Union agree.

Immediately after winning the nail-biting vote that boosted his powers, Erdogan mooted a second referendum on bringing back the death penalty, which would mean an end to the country's European Union membership prospects.

"That approach can only mean one thing - uncertainty and instability, bringing grave risk to our growing economy with higher taxes, fewer jobs, more waste and more debt".

Merkel was speaking shortly before European affairs ministers met in Luxembourg to finalise the negotiating guidelines EU leaders are due to adopt at a special summit on Saturday, the first ministerial talks without a British presence since 1973.

The EU has toughened its strategy, making new demands over financial services, immigration and the bills Britain must settle before ending its 44-year-old membership of the bloc.

Her comments reflect a growing concern among European Union countries that Britain is underestimating the complexity of the separation, the newspaper The Guardian said Thursday, and the perception among some British leaders that economic ties will remain largely the same after Britain exits the EU.

The UK triggered Article 50 on 29 March - the treaty clause that enables a state to leave the EU.

Merkel is seeking to carry momentum as polls show her Christian Democrat-led bloc gaining an edge nationally over the Social Democrats, who'd closed or narrowed the gap after the party's surprise choice for Martin Schulz to challenge Merkel on September 24. "Naturally we have to protect the EU's interests".

Arguing that the Brexit talks would only really get going after Britain's June 8 parliamentary election, Merkel stressed several times that all 27 remaining European Union members agreed that the divorce settlement must be sorted out first.

Grech said a meeting of the ministers in Malta on Thursday proved "remarkable in the sense that it was an unprecedented signal of trust, unity and consensus of the 27".

In the clearest iteration yet of Germany's position, the document rules out any deals that would allow access to the European market for specific industries.

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