Friday 21 July 2017

Brexit: UK must abandon 'fairy tale' ideas, says Germany's Europe minister

Germany's Europe minister Michael Roth
Germany's Europe minister Michael Roth

Will Worley

The British government should abandon the “fairy tale” it will be better off after Brexit, Germany's Europe minister has said.

Michael Roth made the claim in both English and German on Twitter.

“The British government must finally say goodbye to the fairy tale that after Brexit everything will go better for all Britons,” he wrote in his native tongue.

Reverting to English he changed the words "fairy tale" to "myth".

His public intervention added to several recent criticisms from senior German politicians about the UK government’s approach towards the Brexit negotiations.

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine reported Theresa May appeared to be unprepared for a meeting with European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker – who said he left "10 times more sceptical than before" about the process.

Ms May received a barrage of criticism following her meeting with Mr Juncker, who said she was on “a different galaxy”.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer called the reports “deeply worrying”. The government said it did not recognise the reported account of last week’s dinner meeting.

Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said some people the UK had “illusions” about what could be achieved by the country after exiting Europe, while the country's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there was “no free lunch” for the UK.

"We don't want to weaken Britain. But we also don't want that the rest of Europe is weakened," Mr Schaeuble said. "Britain should not have advantages after the exit that other countries don't have."

A special meeting of all European countries saw all the remaining 27 member states swiftly agree on negotiation positions.

It is believed that among these will be the condition that the UK must pay any money owed to the EU - estimated to be around £51bn - before a new trade deal can be considered.

Independent News Service

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