No cherry-picking over terms of exit, Merkel tells the UK

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a special plenary session on Brexit at the German lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin, June 28, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a special plenary session on Brexit at the German lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin, June 28, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Britain has no right to pick and choose the terms of its departure from the European Union (EU) in upcoming negotiations over the issue.

“We will ensure there are no negotiations based on the principle of cherry-picking,” Merkel said in an address Tuesday to the German parliament.

Merkel also reiterated that there will be no talks with Britain on its exit from the bloc until the country starts the formal procedure for that purpose.

The German chancellor said negotiations over Britain’s exit should not be conducted in such a way as to encourage other members to want to leave the bloc.

Merkel said she expected that Britain would want to maintain “close relations” with the EU once it leaves.

The German chancellor is due in Brussels, the EU’s de facto capital, to meet with other leaders of the bloc over the issue.

In a referendum held in the UK last week, a majority of Britons voted to leave the 28-member bloc after 43 years of membership.

Merkel’s Tuesday comments marked a slightly harsher tone than her remarks on Monday, when she said there was no need for the EU members to be “nasty” to the UK over its decision to quit.

“Whoever wants to leave this family cannot expect to have no more obligations but to keep privileges,” she said.

Britain’s exit has raised concerns of a domino effect among other EU members. Far-right parties in France, the Netherlands and Italy have already called for similar referendums in their countries.

Elsewhere in her remarks, Merkel said the EU is “strong enough to withstand Britain’s withdrawal” and is “also strong enough to successfully defend its interests in the world in future.”

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday that the union “cannot get into a period of extended uncertainty,” and called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to “clarify the situation as rapidly as possible.”

Cameron announced his resignation hours after the result of the referendum came out on Friday, saying it would be up to his successor, who is expected to be appointed before the Conservative Party conference in October, to trigger negotiations for the exit from the union.

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