‘There will be CONSEQUENCES’ German industry chief issues warning shot to Merkel on Brexit – Express.co.uk
He warned that the economic price of failing to strike a trade deal with the UK “will be bad for all of us” and said German manufacturers were concerned for the future of their businesses.
Mr Haeusgen, who is one of Germany’s most senior industrialists, made the remarks during a panel discussion on Brexit hosted by the specialist EU news website Euractiv.
They come after Mrs Merkel upped her rhetoric against Britain and branded Brexiteers “delusional” for believing the UK can enjoy a similar trade relationship with Europe outside the EU.
In a speech back in April which caused widespread controversy, the German chancellor said: “A third state, and that’s what Britain will be, cannot and will not have at its disposal the same rights as members of the EU.”
And in a dig at Theresa May she added: “I must say this clearly here because I get the feeling that some people in Britain still have illusions – that would be a waste of time.”
Mrs Merkel has taken an increasingly hard line towards Brexit and appears prepared for German taxpayers and businesses to pay whatever cost is necessary to keep the EU political project together.
Her commitment to the four “indivisible freedoms” of the Single Market – goods, services, capital and people – has so far kept the country’s powerful industrial lobby broadly behind her position.
But Mr Haeusgen, who represents more than 3,000 precision engineering manufacturers across Germany, broke with that line today to offer a thinly veiled criticism of both Mrs Merkel and the British.
He warned that a hard Brexit with no trade deal in place would lead to “very detailed…and very negative consequences” for both the UK and the EU and urged the two parties to reconsider the course they have set in the negotiations.
The respected industrialist said: “I think really people on both sides underestimate the effects of such a large economy leaving the EU and building up new protectionist frontiers between the rest of the EU and the UK.
“And there will be very, very detailed consequences on the people and I would like to make clear those negative consequences.”
Mr Haeusgen raised concerns amongst German manufacturers that they would no longer be able to sell heavy machinery to the UK – one of their biggest customers – in the event of a no-deal scenario.
He said: “Think about machines. We [Germany] build big excavators, there are regulations that regulate safety rules and it took decades to make those rules common rules in Europe, so that when you run an excavator you can be sure and safe what it does.
“So now when we have the UK going a different way from the EU, which regulations count? Will EU regulations still count in the UK, yes or no? Will there be different regulations, and how is this going to be handled?
“There is an enormous bureaucracy behind that and if the UK wants to build their own bureaucracy, it will be bad for all of us.”
His remarks come after a shock report by consulting firm Deloitte, published last week, warned the German car industry will lose £6 billion a year in sales and have to shed 18,000 jobs in the event of a hard Brexit.