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East Midlands Chamber News

German election must not delay Brexit trade negotiations

Substantive Brexit talks between the UK and the rest of the EU are unlikely to start much before the end of 2017, a former European Council president has said.

Speaking to the BBC, Herman Van Rompuy said negotiations were unlikely until a new German government was formed after next September's election.

Scott KnowlesScott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber*, said: “The trade agreement that Britain and the EU need to have in place to secure a seamless Brexit transition is not one with Germany alone and one country’s elections should not be allowed to impede the negotiations.

“Mr Rompuy’s comments would suggest that the other 26 EU countries will have little say on the terms of the bloc’s post-Brexit trade agreement with Britain and that, surely, is contrary to what the EU is supposed to be all about. Each of those countries has a vested interested in making sure trade continues unimpeded.

“Having to wait for elections in all 27 remaining EU countries before negotiations could begin would be very damaging for business across the whole of Europe.

“The British Government should be working with the EU already, whether Germany is ready or not, to ensure that trade agreements are in place before Britain leaves the EU.”