UK won’t have same rights as EU members after Brexit, Merkel says

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 27.04.2017 11:42
Updated 27.04.2017 11:46
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, speaks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, right, and European Parliament President Martin Schulz, center, durıng a round table meetıng at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. (AP Photo)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, speaks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, right, and European Parliament President Martin Schulz, center, durıng a round table meetıng at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. (AP Photo)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Britons on Thursday not to delude themselves that they could negotiate an agreement on their future relationship with the European Union before they have nailed down a deal to leave the bloc.

"We can only do an agreement on the future relationship with Britain when all questions about its exit have been cleared up satisfactorily," she told the Bundestag Lower House of parliament before an EU summit on Brexit.

"A third state, and that's what Britain will be, cannot and will not have at its disposal the same rights ... as members of the European Union," she said.

"I must say this clearly here because I get the feeling that some people in Britain still have illusions - that would be wasted time," she said, to loud clapping from lawmakers.

The leaders of the other 27 EU nations will meet on April 29 to set down the bloc's "red lines", although the talks will not begin until June.

"The negotiations will be very demanding, without doubt," said Merkel, the leader of the biggest EU economy.

The EU has toughened its strategy, making new demands over financial services, immigration and the bills Britain must settle before ending its 44-year-old membership of the bloc.

The EU's latest draft negotiating guidelines, agreed on Monday, point to months of difficult talks ahead as Brussels seeks to ensure Britain does not get a better deal outside the bloc than inside.

According to the document seen by AFP, the other EU countries will seek to hold Britain liable for the bloc's costs for at least a year after it leaves in 2019 -- longer than was previously proposed.

Earlier this week, a German senior finance official pointed to some of the "tough issues" ahead, in an interview with AFP.

"What won't work is having access to the internal market without freedom of movement" for EU citizens, said Jens Spahn, state secretary at the finance ministry in Berlin.

"Or access for UK financial institutions to the European financial market if at the same time there is rampant deregulation in London.

"You can have either one thing, or the other. These things must be clarified."

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