Thursday

26th Apr 2018

UK to have 'special' EU relations, Germany says

  • Roth (r): "There can't be any British members in the next European Parliament" (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The UK is likely to have “special” relations with the EU after it leaves, but there can be no leeway on free movement, a German minister has said.

"Given Britain's size, significance and its long membership of the European Union, there will probably be a special status which only bears limited comparison to that of countries that have never belonged to the European Union," Michael Roth, Germany’s junior minister for EU affairs, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday (16 August).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The minister, from the Social Democrat Party in the German coalition, said relations should be “as close as possible”, but he also said “there cannot be any cherry picking” on basic EU rights, such as free movement of workers.

"The free movement of workers is a highly prized right in the European Union and we don't want to wobble on that,” Roth said.

EU-associated countries such as Norway and Switzerland, which have been touted as potential Brexit models, have access to the single market but have to let in EU workers in return.

Asked by Reuters if the UK deal could include curbs on workers, Roth said: “I can't imagine that."

Reports at the weekend suggested Britain could delay starting the Brexit negotiations until after French and German elections next year.

But Roth urged London to end the uncertainty for EU politicians and British businesses as quickly as possible.

"Until the end of the year should really be sufficient time to get organised [for the exit talks],” he said, adding that the UK should have formally left before the next European Parliament elections in mid-2019.

"There can't be any British members in the next European Parliament."

EU leaders in any case plan to meet in Bratislava in mid-September without the British PM to start talks on post-Brexit EU reforms.

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi will also host the French and German leaders next week on the island of Ventotene for a pre-Bratislava discussion.

Sandro Gozi, Italy’s EU affairs minister, told the Financial Times newspaper on Tuesday that if Europe waits too long to make changes it risks feeding eurosceptic sentiment.

Italy seeks reform

“If there is to be a delay, the priority for us is that it should not lead to immobility, to inertia on all the other things we need to do at the EU level,” he said. “Europe has to give urgent, concrete answers which certainly cannot wait more than a year.”

Italy is keen for the EU to step up integration on issues such as economic governance, pooling of financial risk, and joint migration policy.

But Germany has said the Brexit vote showed that European voters do not want to pool more sovereignty.

"Europe needs to change," Gozi said. "This means strengthening the fundamental rights, and the fundamental values, which pushed Europeans to stay together and should push tomorrow’s Europeans to stay together even more."

He added that the Bratislava talks should lead to a new “political pact” on the EU’s future, which could be enshrined amid festivities next year to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the 1957 accords that founded the EU.

Brexit unlikely before 2019

UK ministers have privately warned the City of London that Britain could remain in the EU until late 2019.

May promotes Brexit on 'first-anniversary' UK tour

The British prime minister vowed to "deliver a Brexit that unites" the country, while 44 percent of the public thinks her policy is a "total shambles" but that the decision to leave the EU should be respected.

'Decisive step' in Brexit ahead of EU summit

The UK and the EU have reached a legal agreement on citizens' rights and the financial settlement, but with still little progress on the future of the Irish border.

No-deal Brexit could cost €65bn a year

A no-deal Brexit would cost UK and EU firms £58 billion (€65bn) a year, but the cost could be just £31 billion if the UK stayed in a customs union.

Interview

Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs

The EU should not share out military HQs for political reasons if it wants effective armed forces, Italy's former defence chief tells EUobserver.

Feature

Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ

Spanish special forces seized a boat from African 'pirates' as diplomats watched on Monday, in a drill marking Spain's bid to grab a top EU military mission from the UK.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  2. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  3. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  6. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  7. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  9. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  10. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  11. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  12. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off

Latest News

  1. EU tells platforms to sort fake news by October or face new law
  2. Civil society chief: social media can't replace engagement
  3. The reality behind the €7 'Brexit bombshell visa'
  4. Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget
  5. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  6. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  7. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs
  8. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work