German economy minister says Britain must pay price for Brexit


German economy minister Sigmar Gabriel warns that Britain should take full responsibility for the repercussions of Brexit. 

Gabriel, who is the deputy to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s governing coalition, said the European Union should ensure that Britain must not “keep the nice things” that come with EU membership without taking responsibility for the fallout from Brexit.

“If we organize Brexit in the wrong way, then we’ll be in deep trouble, so now we need to make sure that we don’t allow Britain to keep the nice things, so to speak, related to Europe while taking no responsibility,” Gabriel said.

He further added that if Brexit was not handled properly and other member countries wanted to leave the EU as well, Europe would go “down the drain.” He elaborated that Brexit has caused a “huge problem politically” for the bloc.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and German Finance Minister Sigmar Gabriel have taken their seat at the beginning of a weekly cabinet meeting on August 17, 2016 at the Chancellery in Berlin. (AFP)

Merkel has been giving cautionary advice on the dealings with Brexit. She warned remaining member states to listen to each other carefully and avoid rushing into policy decisions.

“If you do it wrong from the beginning and you don’t listen – and act just for the sake of acting – then you can make many mistakes,” the German leader said.

Since being appointed prime minister, and despite being a Remain supporter, Theresa May has repeatedly stated that “Brexit means Brexit” and has ordered a cabinet meeting to work on an exit strategy over the summer. Chancellor Philip Hammond is said to have been critical of her haste in wanting to trigger the withdrawal as soon as possible.

European politicians will meet in Slovakia on September 16 to discuss Brexit.

On June 23, some 52 percent (17.4 millions) of British people voted in a referendum to leave the EU after 43 years of membership, while roughly 48 percent (16.14 millions) of people voted to stay in the union.

The vote result has caused political turmoil in the country, pushing David Cameron to announce his resignation and May being named as the new premier within a few weeks.

The vote has also sent economic shock waves through Britain as well as global financial markets.

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