Britain has to accept weaker economic ties with EU: Merkel

“We must get away from the idea that it is we who define what the United Kingdom may wish,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. (Reuters)
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Updated 27 June 2020

Britain has to accept weaker economic ties with EU: Merkel

  • Angela Merkel hardened the tone from Berlin as Germany and its EU partners strive to draw up an agreement on future relations with London

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: Britain will have to “accept the consequences” of having weaker economic ties with the European Union because of Brexit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday.
Merkel hardened the tone from Berlin as Germany and its EU partners strive to draw up an agreement on future relations between Brussels and London after Britain’s departure from the bloc.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to be able to define the scope of those relations but “thereafter he will of course have to accept the consequences — that is, an economy less tightly linked” with its continental neighbors, Merkel said in an interview with the Europa newspaper alliance.
After leaving the EU, Britain and Brussels have been working on establishing new trade links to come into force once a post-exit transition period expires at year’s end.
Germany is meanwhile to take over the EU’s rotating presidency for six months from July 1.
“We must get away from the idea that it is we who define what the United Kingdom may wish,” indicated Merkel, who has consistently sought to help bring about an outcome which avoids a hard Brexit.
“The United Kingdom defines and we, as the EU27, make an appropriate response,” said Merkel.
“If the United Kingdom does not want regulations comparable to that of Europe in terms of the environment, the labor market or social norms, our relations will lose intensity,” she observed.
The EU must additionally work its way through tough negotiations on a $800 billion post-coronavirus euro recovery fund for countries worst hit by the pandemic.
For Merkel, the fund “cannot resolve all of Europe’s problems” but the bloc must “act quickly in the face of the pandemic given the huge hit the virus has dealt jobs and the economy.”
She warned that the result could have an “explosive political impact” that could threaten democracy.
“For Europe to survive, its economy must also survive,” she concluded.


Spain’s former king leaving country amid financial scandal

Updated 49 min 36 sec ago

Spain’s former king leaving country amid financial scandal

  • The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975
  • Marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI

MADRID: Spain’s former monarch, King Juan Carlos I, says he is leaving Spain to live in another country amid a financial scandal.
The royal family’s website on Monday published a letter from Juan Carlos to his son, King Felipe VI, saying “I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain.”
Spain’s prime minister recently said he found the developments about Juan Carlos — including investigations in Spain and Switzerland — “disturbing.”
The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
But marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI, losing the inviolability protection Spain’s Constitution grants to the head of state.
The royal house has denied that Felipe had any knowledge of his father’s alleged financial irregularities.