In a rare move, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has threatened the British government with “consequences” if it were to restrict immigration from the EU member states after the country formally breaks away from the union. “If the British government says that free movement of people is no longer valid, that will have its price,” German Chancellor said. “Merkel threatens the Brits,” reported the leading German newspaper, Die Welt.

If Britain were to put a cap on the number of EU immigrants allowed into the country, “we would have to think about what obstacle we create from the European side,” Merkel warned. German Chancellor’s latest threats came in the backdrop of recent reports that British Prime Minister Theresa May was planning to end the open immigration from the EU countries, once Britain leaves the union following the Brexit negotiations.

In a “barely veiled threat”, as The British newspaper The Telegraph described it, Merkel told the May government that the “British car industry relies on supplies from continental European countries. It is up to the British side, who say they want minimum disruption.”

Thanks to Brussel’s open borders policy, millions of EU immigrants have been claiming welfare benefits in Britain. These benefits often cover their extended families living in EU countries. Many British taxpayers see this as a misuse of their welfare state.

Surprisingly clear words from Angela Merkel aimed at Great Britain. If the brits consider restricting the free movement of people than the European Union must consider consequences.

“If the British government says that free movement of people is no longer valid, that will have its price,” Merkel said on Wednesday (…)

The EU, in that case, must consider restrictions aimed at the Brits. You can’t preserve the good aspects of the EU without ensuring the free movement of people. [Die Welt, May 17, 2017; author’s translation]

Merkel’s new-found bluntness could be attributed to the pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France. With President Macron in place, Merkel can forcefully assert her agenda on the European stage. The German establishment sees itself as the biggest winner of the French election. German newspaper Die Welt, described Macron administration as “Germanophile government.”

This weekend, Merkel’s Christian Democrats defeated their Social Democratic rivals in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. This state-level victory further boosts Merkel’s chances ahead of the September general election.

According to leaked EU documents published last month, the EU wants Britain to surrender parts of its judicial and national sovereignty as a penalty for quitting the union. Furthermore, the EU would like to impose a ‘penalty‘ of €60 billion on Britain, calling it the ‘exit-bill’. “Britain will have to pay off obligations to Brussels for years after Brexit, remain subject to European Union courts and continue to let relatives of European immigrants settle in the UK,” wrote the British newspaper The Guardian citing leaked EU documents.

Returning to thuggish rhetoric, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker threatened to make an “example” of Britain that “will make everyone (other EU states) realise that it’s not worth leaving.”

While Merkel refuses to put any limit on the refugee crossing the EU’s outer borders, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government does not want to surrender its sovereign right to regulate immigration as part of any Brexit deal. Earlier this year, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed that Brexit will “end freedom of movement as we know it.”

Either Merkel’s toughened stance is just posturing ahead of the Brexit negotiations or she has lost touch with reality. Germany is running an annual trade deficit of €50 billion with Britain. Is Merkel willing to erect ‘obstacles,’ as she herself puts it, in the path of British automobile makers opting to buy German car parts?

As Brexit negotiations start next month, it might be time for Prime Minister May to call German Chancellor’s bluff. As British politician Nigel Farage puts it, “No deal with the EU is better than the rotten one we already have.”

Video: Nigel Farage, “Britain will not be bullied”:

[Cover image courtesy Bundesregierung, YouTube]


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