German Business leaders are launching the ‘New Deal for Britain’ campaign, in a last-ditch attempt to reverse Brexit and keep the UK in the European Union (EU), belatedly acknowledging EU migration rules need changing.
Led by three former heads of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), the group is pushing to offer the UK concessions on open borders and migrant welfare benefits in an effort to change the minds of Brexiteers.
“We want to launch a ‘Battle for Britain’ with this initiative, we need a new offer from the EU, this call is addressed to Brussels and also to Berlin,” said Hans-Olaf Henkel, a German MEP with the small Liberal Conservative Reformers party and a former BDI president.
“With almost 90 billion euros, the British are the third most important customer for the German economy after the USA and France,” added Michael Rogowski, another former BDI chief.
Their group aims to target German politicians, who have been among the strongest defenders of the EU’s liberal migration rules.
Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron famously failed to secure his promised reforms to the EU before the Brexit referendum in the beginning of 2016.
— Hans-Olaf Henkel MEP (@HansOlafHenkel) November 21, 2017
Mr. Cameron received a small concession, partly thanks to an intervention by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, allowing an “emergency brake” on in-work benefits for new arrivals, but only for a limited period with the permission of the European Commission.
He failed, however, to secure his original demand for a ban on migrant workers sending child benefit money overseas.
“We want the EU to offer the deal David Cameron was looking for,” added Mr. Henkel, suggesting that the EU’s denial of Mr. Cameron’s proposed reforms had contributed to the Brexit vote.
“We want to offer Britain the right to stop people who have no jobs entering the country and entering its social welfare system,” he added, according to The Times.
Hans-Werner Sinn, one of Germany’s leading economists, added his voice to the campaign group. He said benefits should be paid by citizens’ home nations if they moved to another EU country.
German MEP @HansOlafHenkel tells #DealOrNoDeal conference that it is in Germany’s interests to treat the UK “as if you hadn’t left” and that Germany needs a trade deal with the UK, it’s 3rd largest customer pic.twitter.com/4rE7OCJXrG
— Jonathan Isaby (@isaby) November 21, 2017