Sunday

25th Jun 2017

Germany and France to fight post-Brexit 'disintegration'

  • France's Ayrault (l) and Germany's Steinmeier (r): "We will jointly take on the responsibility of ensuring that the European Union continues and can function" (Photo: F. De la Mure/MAEDI)

Germany and France have warned that the EU could "disintegrate" if the UK votes to leave next week, but the two founding members have pledged to fight for the bloc's unity.

"If Britons decide to leave, we cannot continue the day after at 28 minus one," German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told journalists after a meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"That would be a shock for the EU, and we would have to watch out that a decades-long process of integration doesn't in the end turn into disintegration."

Ayrault said: "Europe would be lacking a lot if Great Britain decided to leave."

The two ministers met in Steinmeier's constituency in Brandenburg an der Havel, west of Berlin, in a personal show of Franco-German unity ahead of the crucial vote. They also conveyed the message that the EU would not stop even if the British chose to leave.

“Europe cannot be static. We want, and that is our responsibility, to give Europe a new dynamism," Ayrault said.

Steinmeier added that “everybody would have to ensure mutually that the European Union can hold together”.

“Whatever the UK decides, we will jointly take on the responsibility of ensuring that the European Union continues and can function," he said.

Germany and France's common message comes as the Leave campaign is leading in the latest polls, just a week ahead of the referendum.

According to the Financial Times' poll tracker, Leave is ahead of Remain with 47 percent to 44. Reuters' poll of the polls indicates a similar trend, with 52 percent for Leave and 48 percent for Remain.

Last week, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said however that "in response to Brexit, we couldn't simply call for more integration".

In an interview with the Zeit weekly published on Wednesday, defence minister Ursula von der Leyen said Europe would miss British "scepticism, understatement and grandiose pragmatism".

She said it was a counter-balance to German “excessive enthusiasm”, French "great pathos", and Italian "art of improvisation".

Tusk: Brexit talks could take seven years

Council chief warned UK could face long divorce from EU, as it could take up to seven years before the new relationship with Britain would be approved by other member states.

Opinion

Reform the EU, with or without Britain

The deal brokered by prime minister Cameron and the other 27 EU member states is the way forward, even if the Brits leave the EU.

Interview

EU anti-trust chief shows softer side

A knitted pink elephant, wellington boots and EU speech-making "clones". EUobserver spoke to EU anti-trust chief Vestager at Denmark's yearly political jamboree - the Folkemodet.

Focus

UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'

British academics want to guarantee residency and work rights for their EU staff, as well as "enhanced mobility opportunities" for UK and EU students, mostly by keeping British participation in EU funding programs.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit