BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government expects the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the labour market in Europe’s biggest economy would be “relatively small”, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel said on Saturday.
Around 41,000 British people were employed in Germany in December 2017 and that number is insignificant for the labour market overall, the magazine cited a government response to a request for information from the far-left Linke party as saying.
There were around 44.8 million people employed in Germany in total in the second quarter of 2018, according to data from the Federal Statistics Office.
The German government has repeatedly stressed that Britain cannot cherrypick the elements of the European Union that it wants while rejecting principles like free movement during negotiations on its looming departure from the bloc.
Der Spiegel cited a government response to the opposition Greens as reaffirming that Berlin rejects British Prime Minister Theresa May’s idea of maintaining free movement of goods between the EU and Britain after Brexit while ending the free movement of people.
At a summit in Austria on Thursday, EU leaders rejected May’s “Chequers” plan, saying she needed to give ground on trade and customs arrangements for the UK border with Ireland.
On Friday May said that Brexit talks with the European Union were deadlocked, challenging the bloc to come up with its own plans.
“Throughout this process, I have treated the EU with nothing but respect,” May said in a televised address. “The UK expects the same. A good relationship at the end of this process depends on it.”
On Saturday, German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said on Twitter that the 27 countries to remain in the European Union countries after Brexit met often and were striving to achieve “reasonable solutions”, as all negotiations had shown.
“The blame game against the EU is therefore more than unfair. We can’t solve the problems that are arising on the island due to Brexit,” he said, referring to Britain.
Germany’s BDI industry association is convinced Brexit will hurt both the EU and Britain, its president said in an interview with public broadcaster SWR.
Regarding negotiations between Britain and the EU, Dieter Kempf said: “We still hope that things work out well but we are advising our companies to prepare for a no-deal, i.e. a hard Brexit.”
If there is a hard Brexit, there should be a trade and investment protection agreement that is as comprehensive as possible, he added.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; editing by Mark Heinrich)