Britain WILL be given special status by EU, Germans admit: Minister says UK’s ‘size and significance’ means it will be treated differently

  • Germany’s European Affairs Minister said UK will be treated differently
  • But Michael Roth warned the UK could not ‘cherry pick’ their status
  • He repeated no single market access without free movement of people 
  • Brexit negotiations should be over in time for 2019 MEP elections

Leave campaigners always argued that the rest of Europe would be forced to give concessions to Britain because those nations export more goods to us than we do them.

The argument was dismissed by the Remain camp, which insisted Britain would be frozen out. In the aftermath of the referendum, European leaders appeared to insist this would be the case.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in June: ‘There must be and there will be a palpable difference between those countries who want to be members of the European family and those who don’t.’

But yesterday Mr Roth appeared to crack – saying that Britain could achieve ‘special status’ after all.

This means it will not have to follow the same model as other countries that are not formally part of the EU, such as Norway.

Instead we will be able to cut our own deal on continuing to trade with the EU, as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had previously suggested.

Mr Roth told reporters: ‘Until the end of the year should really be sufficient time to get organised and adjust to the new situation. We should not let too much time go by.

German finance minister on Brexit: In is in, out is out



Liam Fox was last night branded ‘nutty and obsessive’ by allies of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as relations between the two Brexiteers deteriorated further.

Liam Fox (pictured) was last night branded ‘nutty and obsessive’ by allies of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Liam Fox (pictured) was last night branded ‘nutty and obsessive’ by allies of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

The briefing came after tensions erupted at the weekend when Dr Fox demanded that the Foreign Office hand over key responsibilities for future trade deals.

He claimed British trade with other countries would not ‘flourish’ if responsibility for future policy remained with the Foreign Office, suggesting Mr Johnson should instead focus on ‘diplomacy and security’. But his demands were rejected by Mr Johnson and No 10, which has told him to stop ‘playing games’ when there is so much work to be done on Brexit.

Yesterday, Foreign Office sources stepped up the criticism of Dr Fox, who, along with Mr Johnson and Brexit minister David Davis, are in charge of getting Britain out of the EU. One Whitehall insider told The Times: ‘He’s Donald Rumsfeld on steroids. Fox is the more nutty and obsessive one. There’s something strange about him.’

‘Given Britain’s size, significance and its long membership of the European Union, there will probably be a special status which only bears limited comparison to that of countries that have never belonged to the European Union’.

He said there should not be ‘cherry picking’ by Britain but added: ‘I want relations between the European Union and Britain to be as close as possible.’

Britain is likely to state that it is no longer prepared to accept the free movement of workers.

Mr Roth said that, without free movement, there would not be full access to the single market.

Number Ten came under pressure this week over reports that Brexit is to be delayed

The German minister – a member of the Social Democrats, junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition – gave no further details of what a deal might look like. But he said talks should begin early next year.

Mr Roth said that once Britain triggers Article 50, which sets the clock ticking on a two-year deadline to leave the EU, serious discussions could begin.

He said it should be possible to complete the negotiations within those two years, in time for the next elections for the European Parliament in 2019 – with no British MEPs elected.

Number Ten came under pressure this week over reports that Brexit is to be delayed, but Theresa May’s spokesman said it was ‘a serious and very complex task’, adding: ‘Brexit is a top priority.’

Theresa May: Britain needs to find model for future ties with EU

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