World Bulletin / News Desk
Britain remains a key ally even though it is leaving the European Union, the German government said Wednesday, while warning of tough negotiations ahead.
"We must not forget that the UK is still a partner, in NATO and in Europe," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told journalists, adding that London's Brexit notification would offer clues on how Britain planned to handle the divorce process.
"On this basis, the 27 member states and EU institutions will define their interests and aims," Demmer said, adding that Berlin was "well prepared" for the coming negotiations.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel acknowledged that the talks would "certainly not be easy for both sides".
Although the split may generate "bad feelings", he said that should not form the basis of Britain's future relationship with the EU's remaining 27 members.
"The sentence often used in private divorces, 'let's stay friends', rings true in this case," said Gabriel.
"Britain remains our neighbour, like the European Union is for Britain. We need each other. We should do everything to maintain a good and friendly relationship in the future," he added.
At the same time, a foreign ministry source also pointed out that "a close friend is still somewhat different from remaining part of the family of 27".
"That is hopefully also clear to the Britons," said the source, adding that both sides are aware that "Britain's decision to separate from the EU at a time when the old order seems to be breaking apart, when insecurity and unrest are creating deep ruptures, is, mildly put, reckless."
Underlining what is at stake, foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer emphasised that "uncertainty is poison for the people -- the EU citizens, Germans who live in Britain and what their future status would be, likewise for British citizens living in the European Union."
"Perhaps it's even more poisonous for economic trade and investment relations," he added, questioning if London "really understood what kind of impact there could be for the British economy when all these questions have to be addressed," and noting the "damn tight" two-year negotiation period.
"We are proud of the clear, unanimous stance of the EU 27, that they stood their ground that there would be no pre-negotiations," he added.Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Mart 2017, 16:06