Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement today (17 January) following the speech by Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May on how the British Government envisages the exit from the European Union:
Almost seven months have now passed since the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The British Government has still to formalise its desire to leave. We therefore welcome the British Prime Minister’s speech today in which she outlined her Government’s ideas on the exit and finally created a bit more clarity about Britain’s plans. She stressed that Britain is seeking a positive and constructive partnership, indeed a friendship, with a strong EU. That is good.
We, too, want relations that are as good and close as possible and based on mutual trust. We are hoping for constructive negotiations to this end. However, our stance is and will remain: the negotiations will not begin until Britain has officially informed the European Union of its desire to leave. Tomorrow we will discuss in the Cabinet’s Brexit committee Germany’s position in the forthcoming negotiations.
It is in the interest of Germany and of Europe to strengthen the cohesion of the European Union of 27 member states and to maintain the unity of the European single market.