Do you feel sorry for Theresa May?
No, I don’t – and she wouldn’t want that. May is a fighter. These days, the British Government and Parliament have a tremendous responsibility for our future in Europe. We therefore call upon London to find a way out of this situation, guided by determination and pragmatism. Much is at stake for many citizens in Europe.
On Monday, Theresa May will present her Plan B. Can you imagine giving the British a little more time for Brexit?
So far, the British Parliament has unfortunately only said what it does not want. What we need now from the UK is specific proposals. The ball is in London’s court, and there’s not much time. Of course, if the UK side has come up with ideas, then we will take a close look at them. We will do everything we can, because we want to help make sure that there is no exit without an agreement.
People often talk about “Brexit chaos” – but can you describe the concrete effects that a disorderly Brexit would have on German citizens?
In Germany, we are well prepared for every scenario; this includes emergency plans in the event of a hard Brexit. We want to prevent negative impact on our citizens and companies. A “no deal” scenario would have severe consequences, especially for the British. Primarily, the economy would be hard hit. If the UK were to suddenly leave the internal market, there would be customs controls. The economy would stop functioning normally and would suffer. For UK citizens living on the mainland, and EU citizens living in the UK, an exit without an agreement would sooner or later create legal uncertainty. Issues relating to residence permits, health insurance and pension payments would arise.
Interview: Kai Weise