Germany: Merkel Says Brexit was ‘Deep Incision’

Angela Merkel and other German politicians said they regretted Brexit. But the Chancellor made clear, Germany wanted to remain the U.K.’s friend.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Brexit was a “deep cut for all of us”. She wanted the European Union “to continue to have a close relationship” with the United Kingdom, she stated in her podcast. Germany wanted to remain a close partner and friend of Great Britain too, “because we share common values”.

Intensive Negotiations

Merkel said she believed “even after Britain’s exit, Europe should continue to move forward. The 27 member states of the EU will do everything they can to successfully develop Europe.” In a transition phase until the end of the year, London and Brussels would still negotiate further political relations. “Intensive negotiations are necessary”, Merkel stressed.

“The European Union goes into these negotiations with good courage, but also with the representation of its own interests,” the Chancellor said. Much would also depend on Great Britain. The U.K. was a member of the European Union for 47 years.

In Berlin, Governing Mayor Michael Müller said he deeply regretted the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. “We will maintain our close ties to London, for instance, in the areas of culture, higher education, and research. If possible, will step up our cooperation. We want British citizens to continue living in and enjoying Berlin and to keep contributing to our social and economic well-being.”

New Chapter for E.U.

Some 18,000 Britons live in Berlin. A dozen of them staged a protest at Brandenburg Gate on Friday. They said they wanted to campaign for the U.K.’s return into the E.U.. For now, they had “say goodbye to the European Union and express our grief.”

For the German party FDP, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said the effort for a follow-up agreement with Great Britain had to be in the foreground now. The federal government in Berlin had a special responsibility in this regard.

“With Brexit, a new chapter also begins for the European Union”, the German President of the E.U. Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said. Together with the President of the E.U. Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, she stated that she wanted “to continue to maintain a lasting, positive and meaningful partnership with the United Kingdom.”

Access to Single Market

“Britain should not hope to enjoy the same benefits as EU members in the future”, von der Leyen said. “The more Britain moves away from European standards, the less access it will have to the European single market.”

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