April 27 (UPI) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Britain on Thursday not to expect to retain its European Union privileges when it leaves the economic bloc.
Speaking to the German parliament in advance of Saturday’s EU summit to discuss Britain’s exit, Merkel noted that some British leaders appear to anticipate that little will change once Britain leaves the EU. In a 2016 referendum, British voters chose a “Brexit,” and the two-year process of negotiating the withdrawal has begun.
Merkel also said it made “no sense” to begin discussions regarding Britain’s upcoming financial commitments to the EU, adding “We can only make a deal about Britain’s future relationship to the EU once all questions about the terms of its exit can be clarified to a satisfying degree…First we need to know how Great Britain sees its future relationship with us.”
She also said Germany must defend the interests of the approximately 100,000 German citizens living in Britain.
Her comments reflect a growing concern among EU countries that Britain is underestimating the complexity of the separation, the newspaper The Guardian said Thursday, and the perception among some British leaders that economic ties will remain largely the same after Britain exits the EU.