German Government Holds Out Hope For ‘Soft Brexit’


BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s foreign minister says there may now be a chance of a “soft” British exit from the European Union that keeps the U.K. in the bloc’s single market, but is warning that Britain couldn’t pick and choose its conditions. Brexit negotiations start on Monday, with question marks over Britain’s approach after Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority in an election meant to strengthen her hand in the talks. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Sunday’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper that “maybe there is now a chance to achieve a so-called ‘soft Brexit.'” But he said staying in the single market would require Britain to accept EU workers’ freedom of movement. It also would have to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, “or at least a joint court that is staffed by Europeans and Britons” and in principle follows the ECJ’s rulings, Gabriel said. For many Brexit advocates, those conditions would be impossible to accept as last year’s referendum campaign focused on getting back control over laws and immigration from the EU. Gabriel said “it would naturally be best if Britain didn’t leave at all.” “It doesn’t look like that at the moment,”

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