Germany’s Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor S
igmar Gabriel said that while he “regrets” that Britain chose to leave the European Union in June last year, he and the rest of EU members should “respect it” and not punish the nation during negotiations.
“We should resist the temptation to treat Britain overly harshly – not out of pity but in our own interest,”said Gabriel at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, as reported by The Daily Mail.
“We need Britain, for example, as a partner in security policy and I am also convinced that Britain needs us.”
On January 17, May outlined her negotiating stance for Brexit , which included a rejection of the Single Market and an end to the free movement of people, resulting in a so-called “hard Brexit.”
May plans to trigger Article 50 before the end of March, which will start the official two-year negotiation period for Britain leaving the EU.
In February, Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission’s vice president for the financial services sector, summed up the European Union’s view on Brexit in one perfect sentence :
“Inevitably the will be some economic disruption by clearing out decades of economic integration. Unfortunately, it will be a situation where we will be spending lots of time and energy moving from Point A to Point B, when we already know that Point B is likely to be worse than Point A.”
In the same month, French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned Britain that the terms of any Brexit deal must not be better than full EU membership.