‘For God’s sake what do you want!’ German business chief in astonishing attack on Brexit

Dieter Kempf, leader of Germany’s most influential business lobby, took particular aim at the Chancellor Philip Hammond who made a speech in Berlin the previous day.

Mr Kempf, president of Germany’s BDI industry federation, said: “I was surprised to hear the chancellor say yesterday that it was now up to the EU to make an offer to the UK on how to deal with the UK in future.

“I understand that you don’t want to be like Switzerland. I understand that you don’t want an agreement like the one in Canada.

“But for God’s sake tell us what you want.”

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Dieter Kempf has slammed the chancellor Philip Hammond

The BDI is seen to have close ties to the political establishment including the country’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Mr Kempf made clear that German industry would be following Berlin and Brussels’ lead on Brexit.

He said: “For us there is a clear primacy of politics in this area. 

“The talks are between are the European Commission and the government of the UK.”

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Michel Barnier has offered the UK a Norway-style trade option

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    In response to Philip Hammond suggestion the EU should make an offer, Mr Kempf continued: “If everyone just points the finger at the other side and says, ‘you have to make an offer to me, you have to tell me what you want’, then I ask myself ‘what make us so sure that 24 months of transition period will be enough? We can play that game for 48 months.”

    Mr Hammond suggested in a speech to German leaders on Wednesday that the EU needed to show more flexibility, adding that it “takes two to tango”. 

    He said: “I know the repeated complaint from Brussels has been that the UK hasn’t decided what kind of relationship it wants. But in London, many feel that we have little, if any, signal of what future relationship the EU27 would like to have with a post-Brexit Britain.”

    The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has given the UK a choice, where we have access to the single market in a Norway-style deal, or a less-ambitious Canada-style free trade deal.

    Theresa May has rejected both models as inappropriate for the UK. 

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