Merkel sees post-Brexit UK as ‘potential competitor’ to EU

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference with French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris on October 13, 2019 as they meet for a working dinner ahead of the EU summit | Pool photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Merkel sees post-Brexit UK as ‘potential competitor’ to EU

German chancellor classes Britain alongside China and US.


10/13/19, 11:32 PM CET

Updated 10/14/19, 3:34 PM CET

PARIS — Post-Brexit Britain will be a potential competitor to the European Union alongside China and the United States, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared on Sunday.

Merkel made the comments alongside French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a working dinner between the two leaders in Paris. Her remarks suggest Berlin now harbors serious doubts that the EU and the U.K. can work together as close partners after Brexit — despite both sides having previously insisted that is their intention.

Speaking to reporters at the Elysée Palace, the German leader outlined a wide range of areas — including trade, climate policy and artificial intelligence — in which Berlin and Paris aim to cooperate more closely. EU officials have repeatedly insisted that the U.K. must commit to a level playing field on issues like state aid or the EU would refuse to eliminate tariffs under a future EU-U.K. trade deal.

“We will do all this in the knowledge that with the departure of Great Britain, a potential competitor will of course emerge for us. That is to say, in addition to China and the United States of America, there will be Great Britain as well,”

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