German home affairs spokesman says UK is deluded about Brexit

Caroline Mortimer
Theresa May welcomes Jean-Claude Juncker to Downing Street: Reuters

The idea that the Britain will benefit from Brexit is an “illusion” and the country will have to face the consequences of leaving the European Union (EU), a senior German politician has warned.

Stephan Mayer said that Brexit was no good for any member of the 27 nation bloc, including his homeland. But he said “the consequences for will be worse for the UK”.

"There is a comprehensive entrant position within the EU27 and one decisive pillar of this position is Brexit means Brexit and if you leave, you leave with all the consequences," the home affairs spokesman for Germany's ruling parliamentary group, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme

"If someone in Great Britain thinks that Great Britain will be the winner or takes advantage of this Brexit, I'm convinced this would be an illusion."

His comments came after Germany's Europe minister Michael Roth’s took to Twitter to claim that the British government should abandon the “fairy tale” that it will be better off after Brexit

A row over leaked details from a dinner between Theresa May and Europe Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Downing Street last week has also provoked a series of claims and counterclaims.

A report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper said that EU officials and Mr Juncker were surprised at Ms May's unrealistic expectations about the length and process of negotiations.

"I leave Downing Street 10 times as sceptical as I was before," Mr Juncker was said to have told her as he left.

The following morning he rang German Chancellor Angela Merkel to warn her that Mrs May's approach was from a "different galaxy" and that she was deluding herself.

Ms Merkel responded by rewriting a speech she was giving that day to warn that some in Britain were still harbouring "illusions" about the Brexit process.

In an address to the Bundestag, she said Britain would become a “third-party state” after it leaves and “cannot and will not” have the same rights as other member states.

“I have to say this clearly here because I get the feeling that some people in Britain continue to work under illusions, and that is a waste of time”, she added.

No 10 has said it does not recognise this version of events at the dinner which it dismissed as "Brussels gossip".

Additional reporting by agencies

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