BERLIN (Reuters) – Britain will have to compromise on issues such as consumer rights and environment protection if it wants to maintain full access to the European Union’s single market, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday.
“By the end of the year, we need to be clear on the shape of our relationship,” Mass wrote in a guest article in German weekly Die Zeit in reference to the post-Brexit transition period.
“So let me say very openly: Yes, we all want zero tariffs and zero trade barriers, but that also means zero dumping and zero unfair competition. Without similar standards to protect our workers, our consumers and the environment, there can be no full access to the largest single market in the world.”
Britain and the European Union will therefore have to conduct the negotiations on their post-Brexit economic relations in a way that “won’t harm the European Union”, Maas said.
Turning to security and defense policies, the minister said that Britain and the EU needed to develop new forms of cooperation, for example by creating a European Security Council.
Such a council could help coordinate joint positions on strategic issues of European security and to respond more quickly to international crises. “We are working with France to flesh out this idea as quickly as possible in order to build a foundation for our future relationship,” Maas wrote.
The German minister also suggested that the EU’s door would always remain open for Britain to come back.
Referring to the Beatles song “Hello, goodbye”, Mass said that both sides had sorted out the goodbye.
“But should this farewell ever turn out to be less final than anticipated, rest assured that we will always have a place for you at our table in Brussels and in our hearts,” he added.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Toby Chopra)