“Great Britain will remain a close partner,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday in Potsdam, outside Berlin.
“It shouldn’t take ages” for Britain to deliver formal notification that it wants to leave the European Union, “but I would not fight now for a short time frame,” she stated, seeking to temper pressure from Brussels, Paris and her own government to force Britain into negotiating a quick divorce from the EU.
Britain would remain a full-fledged member of the European Union until the negotiations were completed – with all the rights and responsibilities, she added.
“We will conduct the necessary negotiations in the spirit of our future partnership,” Merkel said.
The newspaper Handelsblatt quoted an internal document from the Ministry of Finance in Berlin regarding Germany’s strategy in the case of a Brexit. Britain would be offered “constructive negotiations,” Handelsblatt wrote, underlining that the members of Wolfgang SchÃ¤uble’s ministry were expecting a “difficult” divorce.
According to the document, the objective could be an association agreement between the EU and the UK. An association treaty spells out trading rules and other regulations between the European Union and a non-EU country. Other reports suggested any such agreement would not cover financial services.