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‘There is no other option’ German business boss joins calls for ‘hard Brexit’

A GERMAN business boss today joined calls for Britain to seek a “hard Brexit” decisive break with Brussels.

 Markus KerberGETTY

Markus Kerber, who heads the BDI – representing German Business – has called for a ‘hard brexit’


Markus Kerber said that would be better than an unworkable “fudge”.It was unrealistic to expect other EU governments to let Britain have both extensive access to the single market and permission to limit immigration from Europe, he said – a forecast echoed by Italian PM Matteo Renzi.

Supporters of so-called “hard” Brexit back a clean departure in which the UK simply leaves the EU and its free-trade single market then organises its future trade relationship with the Continent.

Backers of a “soft” Brexit envisage Britain first negotiation to keep a level of single market participation in return for accepting some continuing free movement of workers around Europe.

Mr Kerber, who heads the BDI German equivalent of Britain’s CBI representing businesses, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have a rough idea of what the British government wants to see.

For us the single market … and the freedom of movement are one deal that is inseparable

Markus Kerber

“It wants to have a relatively full access to the single market and yet limited or non-existing freedom of movement of labour.”That, I think, is impossible at the moment … it’s not what the Continental Europeans are willing or even able to give.”

Free movement could not be detached from the other foundations of the free-trade single market, he said.

“For us the single market … and the freedom of movement are one deal that is inseparable.

Oliver LetwinGETTY

Letwin says he wants the UK to keep access to the single market and have control over immigration


“I agree with those commentators who would say it is better to have a hard Brexit that works than to have a fudge in the middle that may have to be renegotiated or doesn’t politically work, and you have uncertainty lingering on.”If British decision-makers look very hard at what it is that they want and what it will be that they get, there is no other option than the hard exit.”

Mr Renzi, who Theresa May visited in Rome for Brexit talks soon after she became UK Prime Minister in July, also suggested Britain could not have full single market access and curbs ong immigration.

He blamed Mrs May’s predecessor for Britain’s Brexit vote.

David DavisGETTY

David Davis is Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union


“When David Cameron decided to use the referendum to solve the internal problems of the Conservative Party, this was the problem. We cannot use foreign affairs to solve internal problems,” said the Italian.”The decision of (the) British people is a bad decision in my mind and I’m sad for that.

“But if we don’t accept the result of the referendum the risk is we give the message that a vote is not a good thing, democracy is not an asset for this continent … is Brexit – the people of the UK decide the way for the future”.

He was ready to negotiate with Mrs May once she triggers formal talks by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and he hoped for the “best alliance” possible to be forged between the UK and the EU for the future.

He did not rule out “flexibility” with regard to free movement and free trade but commented: “It will be impossible to give British people more rights than the other people outside the EU.”Tory former minister Oliver Letwin told BBC1’s Daily Politics he would like the UK both to retain access to the single market, specifically for financial services, continued zero tariffs on exports and imports, and control over immigration which the British people voted for.

Asked if that meant having one’s cake and eating it, he said: “Yes – correct. That’s what we want, we want cake and eating it.”

But it would be a question of what was “do-able with our EU partners”, which was not yet known.

Theresa MayGETTY

EU countries are ready to negotiate when PM May triggers Article 50


Former Tory MP Mark Reckless, a UK Independence Party Member of the Welsh Assembly, said it was in other EU’s countries’ interests to continue free trade with the UK given that five people were employed on the Continent exporting to Britain for every three working here and exporting to the EU.Mr Reckless pointed to previous BDI statements about the importance of maintaining free trade with the UK.

In June just ahead of the referendum Mr Kerber said it would be “very very foolish” for the EU to impose trade tariffs on Britain if it left the bloc and that a new regime would be needed to maintain current trade levels.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/715918/German-business-boss-calls-for-hard-brexit-Markus-Kerber-no-other-option

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