Davis HITS BACK: EU would be FOOLISH to punish UK for leaving, Brexit Secretary blasts

Posted on Nov 17 2017 - 8:39am by admin

David Davis and Angela MerkelREUTERS•EPA

Mr Davis urged Angela Merkel’s government to help end the posturing and deadlock in the Brexit talks

In a strongly-worded speech in Berlin, the EU Exit Secretary urged Angela Merkel‘s government to help end the posturing and deadlock in the Brexit negotiations.

He raised concerns that the slow progress in the talks over the UK’s future relationship with Brussels risked damaging trade across the continent.

“Putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice,” the senior Tory Cabinet minister said.

Mr Davis flew to the German capital yesterday to deliver a keynote speech designed to help kick-start the stalled discussions on Britain’s departure from the EU. 

Merkel and MacronGETTY

Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron may represent the main obstacles to progress in the talks

Putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice

David Davis

His intervention followed growing concern among ministers that Mrs Merkel, the German Chancellor, and French President Emmanuel Macron are becoming the main obstacles to progress in the talks.

Both European leaders have been pressing for the British Government to offer billions of pounds more in a Brexit divorce settlement before an EU summit next month can give permission for the second phase of negotiations, focusing on the future trade relationship between and the bloc, to begin.

Theresa May is understood to be determined to intensify the Government’s push towards a trade deal with the EU.

Whitehall sources suggested the Prime Minister is preparing to offer an extra £20billion of British taxpayers cash on top of £18billion already pledged towards to divorce settlement in a bold attempt to accelerate the talks, although Downing Street officials dismissed the figure as “speculation” yesterday. 

And Mr Davis sought to inject more dynamism into the talks last night with a warning in Berlin that the wrangling was threatening to have an impact on business across Europe.

“There is an urgency to this for all 28 member states, including the UK and Germany, and for our businesses and citizens,” the EU Exit Secretary said.

He implored European leaders to allow the talks to progress so the arrangements for Britain’s expected two-year transition to full independence from Brussels after the official Brexit date in March 2019 can be hammered out as quickly as possible.

“Without such an implementation period, some of these decisions would need to be taken in the near future on the basis of guesswork. 

Theresa MayGETTY

Mrs May is understood to be determined to intensify the Government’s push towards a UK/EU trade deal

“And that is why we want to agree this period as soon as the EU have a mandate to do so,” Mr Davis said.

He told his audience: “My message to you is that when it comes to an implementation period, and our economic partnership, you are not detached observers, you are essential participants.”

Mr Davis used his speech to emphasise the strong economic links between Britain and Germany that could be put at risk by a punitive tariff regime.

“Germany is the UK’s second biggest trading partner, receiving 9% of our exports — and we’re your fourth biggest investor. 

“Meanwhile 220,000 Germans work for the 1,200 British companies based here in Germany. 

“That trade creates jobs, it boosts prosperity and it creates wealth not just in Britain not just in Germany but right across Europe.

“I have twice served on the board of a FTSE100 businesses and have seen saw it myself first hand.

“In the face of those facts I know that no one would allow short-term interests to risk those hard-earned gains. 

David DavisGETTY

Mr Davis warned Berlin that delaying the talks could have an impact on business across Europe

“Because putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice.”

Earlier, Mr Davis began his speech at an economic summit at Berlin’s Museum of Communication by taking a swipe at the German media for carrying leaked reports about confidential Brexit discussions.

“I’m not here tonight to give a blow-by-blow account of the Brexit negotiations. 

“You all know about that from the pages of Suddeutsche Zeitung already,” he joked.

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