Thursday, April 27, 2017

Angela Merkel Attacks British 'Illusion' of Keeping Benefits of EU

THE GUARDIAN: German chancellor says UK cannot have same rights as member states nor negotiate trade relations before agreeing to pay its bill

Angela Merkel has said British politicians are still living under the “illusion” that the UK will retain most of its rights and privileges once it leaves the European Union.

Addressing her parliament ahead of this weekend’s EU summit at which European leaders will formally adopt Brexit negotiation guidelines, the German chancellor said: “Countries with a third country status – and that’s what Great Britain will be – cannot and will not have the same or even more rights as a member of the European Union. All 27 member states and the European institutions agree on this.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” she continued, “you may think that all this is self-evident. But I have to put this so clearly because I get the impression that some in Great Britain still have illusions about this, and that is a waste of time.”

Merkel also said it made “no sense” to negotiate a future UK-EU relationship without agreement on the UK’s financial commitment to the EU, while also hinting that parallel discussions could be possible once questions about budget contributions had been satisfied.

“We can only make a deal about Britain’s future relationship to the EU once all questions about the terms of its exit can be clarified to a satisfying degree. » | Philip Oltermann in Berlin and Dan Roberts | Thursday, April 27, 2017