Germany’s Angela Merkel told Britain Thursday it should have no “illusions” it would retain the rights of an EU member after Brexit, hardening the tone ahead of a summit of the remaining 27 nations.
“A third-party state will not have the same rights or even superior rights to a member state,” the German chancellor told parliament two days before the meeting in Brussels.
“This may sound self-evident, but I have to say this clearly because some in Britain seem to have illusions on this point,” she said. “That would be a waste of time.”
The leaders of the other 27 EU nations have stressed a united stance as they plan to meet Saturday to set down the bloc’s “red lines” — although the talks will not begin until June, after Britain’s election.
“The negotiations will be very demanding, without a doubt,” said Merkel, the leader of the biggest EU economy.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman, in a brief reaction, said only that London was approaching the negotiations “in a constructive spirit and with enormous goodwill”.