British Chancellor Philip Hammond has called on Germany not to hurt the rest of Europe in order to punish Britain over Brexit. He told reporters in Berlin that “a lot is at stake”.
As reported by The Financial Times, Hammond hinted at fears in London that Germany and other EU countries might make life awkward for Britain to deter other countries from heading for the exit and that politics might trump economics in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
He was speaking at the annual Die Welt economic summit, where he addressed business leaders and politicians behind closed doors to try to build a common understanding before Brexit talks start.
“I understand Germany will approach the challenge with the priority of protecting the integrity and unity of the EU,” he said. “But this does not have to be a negative sum game.”
Hammond, who also held talks with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble on January 10, argued it was in Germany’s interest to keep open trade links and access to Europe’s biggest capital market in London.
“Britain and Germany together have been responsible for more than half the economic growth in the EU since 2010 and three quarters of the employment growth,” he said.
In a separate report, The Guardian noted that Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, whose country has taken over the EU presidency, the UK’s deal must be worse than the terms of its membership, repeating a position he expressed in October.
“We can see no situation where whatever is negotiated ends up being better than the current situation that the United Kingdom has,” he told a press conference in Valletta. Malta took on the six-month EU presidency January 1.