VDMA: Protecting the EU is top priority in Brexit negotiations
Brussels / Frankfurt, 15 December 2016 - Protecting the European Union and the European Single Market must take priority in the upcoming negotiations regarding Britain’s departure, urged the German Mechanical Engineering Association VDMA ahead of the meeting by the remaining 27 member countries in Brussels on 15 December. Although the German mechanical engineering industry continues to hope its collaboration with British business partners will be largely unaffected, there cannot be any unilateral concessions that would make a special status for Britain more advantageous than a regular EU membership.
“The German mechanical engineering industry believes the EU and the Single European Market must take top priority, with its desire for close collaboration with the UK second,” says Thilo Brodtmann, Executive Director of VDMA. “How far these goals are mutually exclusive depends mainly on Britain’s expectations. It is clear, however, that Britain cannot retain the benefits of European cooperation without accepting the corresponding obligations. Hardly any business operators want Britain to leave the EU. It’s now up to the policy-makers to minimise the damage to the economy on the Continent and in Britain. And that includes ensuring the ability to plan reliably and starting negotiations as soon as possible.”
Collectively, the EU countries are by far the largest export market for the German mechanical engineering industry – in 2015, some 45 percent of all exports (€69.6 billion) went to other Member States. Besides the Single European Market, the industry also benefits from EU trade agreements with non-EU countries and the political framework underpinning the euro as the common currency. Last year, the UK was Germany’s fourth-largest foreign market (€7.2 billion), behind the US (€16.8 billion), China (€16 billion) and France (€9.8 billion).