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German foreign minister unimpressed by May's Brexit speech

Europe
23.09.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Wolfenbuettel, Germany (dpa) - German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel showed little enthusiasm Saturday for Theresa May‘s recent Brexit speech, saying the British prime minister‘s attempt to set out her country‘s plan for leaving the European Union was "disappointing."

"We‘re slowly running out of time," Gabriel said, on the election campaign trail in Wolfenbuettel in the northern state of Lower Saxony.

Reiterating claims by other EU politicians, the minister said Britain would owe the bloc between 60 and 100 billion euros (72-120 billion US dollars) in outstanding financial commitments after its departure.

Gabriel said a two-year transition period following Brexit, as suggested by May in her long-anticipated speech in Florence on Friday, could only be discussed once the issues of EU citizens‘ residency rights, the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and the so-called divorce bill had been settled.

"The British government has so far refused to make any statement," Gabriel said, calling the situation "bitter."

He stressed that, while he would like Britain to remain in the European single market, it would need to stay within the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and accept free movement of EU workers in order to do so - conditions that London has so far rejected.

 

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