Germany buckles: Business admits it needs UK market
In a major breakthrough for common sense, German business has admitted it stands to lose enormously if Britain quits the EU without a trade deal. Our negotiating hand has just got a lot stronger. If we play a tough game, we'll get the trade deal we want
Germany's BVMW, the country's largest organisation representing small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), has indicated that tens of billions of euros in business and hundreds of thousands of German jobs depend upon a free trade deal being reached between Britain and the European Union.
The news is a huge boost for Brexit and confirms what eurosceptics have long argued -- Germany and the rest of the EU have an enormous amount to lose should Britain simply walk away from the EU without a workable trade deal.
"Germany exported goods worth 89 bn euros to the UK alone in 2015, almost half of it was exported by 150,000 German SMEs," BMVW head Mario Ohoven told the BBC.
"In the end, a soft Brexit should be reached. It is important that the UK stays in the single market, or that the UK joins an agreement similar to the EFTA (European Free Trade Association), similar to Norway or Iceland...The worst result would be if the EU and the UK did not reach an agreement in time...We shouldn't forget that 750,000 jobs in Germany depend on the trade with the United Kingdom".
By "worst result" of course, he means "worst result" for German businesses and workers, which is what Brexiteers have been saying all along in opposition to the anti-Brexit camp which has persuaded itself that Britain's trade relationship with the EU is all one way traffic.
As angry bluster inside the EU over Brexit gives way to hard headed business sense, such messages will quickly reach the German and European political classes.
As we have argued before, this is why we need to play hardball in the negotiations, especially at the outset. Theresa May and company need to keep their focus on the economic interests of all sides.
If we hold our nerve, we'll get everything we need for a smooth and successful Brexit.
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