Edited by Desislava Tzoneva
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has dismissed London’s proposal that the UK will be able to retain “access to the single market” if it leaves the EU.
The Chancellor warned Britain to have no illusions about life outside the European Union. “I can only urge our friends in Britain against deluding themselves,” she said. “We must and will make a palpable difference over whether a country wants to be a member of the family of the European Union or not. Whoever wants to get out of this family cannot expect that all the obligations fall away, but the privileges continue to remain in place. We will make sure that the negotiations will not follow the principle of cherry-picking,” Merkel added.
The German Chancellor referred to the example of Norway – if the UK, like Norway, wanted access to the internal market, then it would have to accept freedom of movement and let EU nationals come to live and work freely in the country.
Other European leaders agreed with this statement. French President, François Hollande, said that if the UK wants to continue to be part of the single market, it will have to meet strict conditions.
“The four freedoms. You cannot have the freedom of capital movement, the freedom of goods, freedom of services and then say, ‘When it comes to people, stay put!’ Well no, it doesn’t work that way,” Hollande said.
In the speech made to the Bundestag, Merkel said that Britain is interested in maintaining relations with the European Union. UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, said he would do everything he could “to argue for a close relationship between Britain, the EU and its member countries.”
At the same time, Nigel Farage, UK Independence Party Leader, said that other member states will soon follow the example of Britain and leave the bloc, and laughed at the idea that the UK would lose out on trade with the EU. “Between your countries and my country, we do an enormous amount of business in goods and services. That trade is mutually beneficial to both of us. That trade matters. If you were to decide to cut off your noses to spite your faces and to reject any idea of a sensible trade deal, the consequences would be far worse for you than it would be for us,” Farage said.
However, the EU has ruled out any chance of informal or formal negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the bloc, until it gives formal notification of its intention to leave.