Merkel Fears Brexit Britain Becoming ‘Economic Competitor’ on EU’s Doorstep

BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 29: German Chancellor Angela Merkel give statements to the media prior to talks with President of the Palestinian National Authorityat the Chancellery on August 29, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The two leaders are meeting to discuss the situation in the Middle East as well as bilateral …
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Brexit will result in the European Union having an “economic competitor at our door” and that the bloc would be weaker for Britain’s exit.

Mrs Merkel said during a parliamentary debate that she was “firmly convinced” that the UK and EU would come to a mutual decision over how the country will leave the bloc but that a no deal could not be ruled out. However, she said that either with or without a deal, “the fact remains that after the withdrawal of Britain, we have an economic competitor at our door, even if we want to keep close economic, foreign and security cooperation and friendly relations”.

The chancellor admitted in comments reported by The Guardian that “as Europeans we are weaker with Britain’s exit” but claimed that “this is the moment to develop new strengths”.

Brussels has long-feared the UK becoming an even greater trade power house once freed from the shackles of EU regulations, which Eurocrats believe would lead to the country having unfair economic advantages over the bloc on the world’s stage. Last week, France and other countries threatened tariffs against the UK if it is deemed to take its economic freedom to the extent that it betrays its commitments to so-called “fair competition”.

While the EU fears an economically-independent UK which could undercut the EU and betray “fair competition”, President Donald Trump has often criticised the bloc for its protectionism, comparing the group to China and its practices.

Boris Johnson’s EU negotiator David Frost has said that the country seeks a “clean break” from a number of Brussels’ regulations, with the prime minister having said that the UK should become a low-regulation, low-tax nation. Britain’s banking industry is also far larger than that of any other EU nation, being nearly three times the size of Germany’s or France’s.

It’s not just the the UK drifting from the Continent that frightens the EU, but the country developing a closer relationship with the U.S. Last week, European Council President-elect Charles Michel said: “How do we maintain a close relationship to the United Kingdom, our ally and neighbour? How will we repair the potential damage caused by a hard Brexit? The UK is now looking more and more toward the United States.”

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