German finance chief Scholz: No-deal Brexit will hit UK harder than EU

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

German finance chief Scholz: No-deal Brexit will hit UK harder than EU

Warning comes with tension high over British government plans.


9/12/20, 4:29 PM CET

Updated 9/12/20, 4:32 PM CET

BERLIN — The U.K. economy will suffer far more than the EU if the two sides don’t agree a trade deal, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Saturday.

Olaf Scholz spoke at a press conference in Berlin after two days of informal talks with his counterparts from around the EU, adding that the bloc is “well prepared” for a cliff edge.

“A hard Brexit would have very harsh consequences on the U.K. economy,” he said. “Not so much on the EU economy after the preparation we have already made for this eventuality.”

His comments come as tensions between the EU and U.K. have shot up over the British government’s Internal Market Bill, which would allow London to change parts of its divorce agreement with the bloc.

EU officials and member countries have expressed outrage over the bill. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the U.K.’s plan “would break international law and undermines trust.”

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his plans Saturday in British newspaper the Telegraph, claiming that the divorce deal with EU could cut Northern Ireland off from the rest of country.

If a trade deal between the two sides is not in place by the end of the year, new tariffs would replace free trade between the EU and the U.K.

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