A leading German MEP has warned that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would hit the European Union hard, and that the bloc should not be too keen to pursue a “masochistic” negotiating strategy.
Hans-Olaf Henkel, a former IBM executive, told Sky News that over-emphasising the downside of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit for the United Kingdom risked emboldening Brussels bureaucrats to be antagonistic in negotiations and inflict economic damage on their own member-states.
“[N]o-one ever talks about the negative impact on Europe; for instance, the Netherlands or Germany — they would be severely impacted,” the prominent figure in Germany’s libertarian-leaning Free Democratic Party, which often holds the balance of political power under the country’s multi-party electoral system, warned.
“Let’s face it, Britain is already the largest single customer of the European Union, ahead of the United States and ahead of China. That doesn’t seem to be known in Brussels.
“So my position is we should offer the very best deal possible [to the United Kingdom], because the better the deal for Britain the better the deal for, for instance, German industry,” he added.
WATCH | German MEP @HansOlafHenkel on why the EU needs a Brexit deal: "Nobody ever talks about the negative impact on Europe… Britain is already the single largest customer of the EU… we should offer Britain the very best deal possible!"
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) October 14, 2018
Henkel voiced his concern that “very slowly, and only very late, the Europeans realise that by trying to punish Britain, they punish themselves… that is the sort of masochistic approach of the Brussels bureaucracy.”
In stark contrast to many Remainer politicians in Britain, who downplay their country’s international standing and capacity for independent self-government, the German politician was keenly aware that “Britain is big, Britain is as big as if 19 smaller and medium-sized countries would leave the European Union at the same time.”
“Without Britain, the common market will not be as important and as valuable to German industry, for instance, as it was before.”
He concluded that it, in his view, it was “so logical for everybody, for every reasonable person, to try to avoid [No Deal],” and to aim for “the best deal for Britain possible”.
The remarks follow those of Federation of German Industry boss Joachim Lang, who warned last week that Europe runs the risk of slipping into a disorderly Brexit”, and that “A massive crisis would be the result”.