German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said suggested that Britain has ‘illusions’ about how straightforward Brexit will be.
Speaking in German Parliament, she said the new relationship between Britain and the EU could not be negotiated before exit terms were finalised.
She added that as a non-EU country, the UK would not have the same rights as it presently does.
“I have to put it in such clear terms because, unfortunately, I have the feeling that some in Britain still have illusions, but that would be a waste of time,” Merkel told the Bundestag on Thursday morning.
“We can only have an agreement on the future relationship with Britain when all questions about its exit have been cleared up satisfactorily. A third state, and that’s what Britain will be, cannot and will not have at its disposal the same rights … as members of the European Union.
Merkel added that she expected EU members to be consistently united in the negotiations as there was “now a great deal of agreement” between the 27 member states and the EU institutions about the bloc’s joint Brexit negotiating stance.
The Brexit negotiations will be very demanding both for both sides, Merkel also warned, adding that she agreed with the head of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, that Brexit negotiations would only properly start after the June general election in Britain.
“The exit negotiations will definitely demand a great deal of the European Union as well as Britain itself in the two years. I think that is completely beyond doubt,” Merkel said.
Merkel’s Brexit speech comes ahead of a summit on Saturday during which the German chancellor and the heads of state of 27 EU countries will meet to discuss guidelines for the Brexit negotiations.
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