Major course correction by London urgently needed. Remaining in the customs union and single market is the only solution.

“There is a big risk that Brussels and London will be left empty-handed on 29 March 2019. Two years after the referendum, the United Kingdom is hurtling towards a disorderly Brexit,” so said Joachim Lang, Director General of The Federation of German Industries (BDI), on Friday in Berlin on the second anniversary of the Brexit referendum.

The EU summit next week should set the required course to ensure an orderly departure of the UK from the EU. But the important Brexit question regarding the Irish border is still completely unresolved. “The British government is still playing for time. This strategy will lead to disaster. A major course correction is needed,” said Lang.

London has to accept that only remaining in the customs union and in the single market will make a solution to the Irish question possible. European law must also remain valid for dispute settlement in the future relationship. “If the negotiators do not make any progress in this area, the urgently needed transition period, lasting until the end of 2020, is likely to be derailed. That would have significant negative consequences for companies on both sides of the Channel, but especially for the UK economy,” warned Lang.

The adverse effects of the forthcoming Brexit are already noticeable. At 1.4 per cent, the United Kingdom is currently the country with the weakest GDP growth in the entire EU.

If the negotiations result in a free trade agreement, the BDI believes that three basic principles should apply: the agreement must exclude tariffs or quotas without exception, clearly regulate subsidies and provide for regulatory cooperation.

Source: BDI