Top Merkel advisors: we should try to stop Brexit

Top Merkel advisors: we should try to stop Brexit
Angela Merkel receives the German Council of Economic Experts's annual report in 2015. Photo: DPA
Leading economic advisers to the German government have called on European politicians to stop Britain's exit from the European Union.

“The German Council of Economic Experts calls for constructive negotiations to prevent an exit, or at the least to come to an agreement that minimizes the damage on both sides,” the experts wrote in their annual report.

The German Council of Economic Experts is an independent academic body set up in 1963 to advise the German government on macroeconomic policy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is to receive a copy of the report on Wednesday.

British voters in June chose by a narrow majority to leave the EU in a referendum. British Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to pull the trigger by activating Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would officially announce the UK’s decision to leave the EU. She has said that she will do so in early 2017.

“Due to the consequences, political actors should not assume too soon that the Brexit is a done deal,” the German economists advise.

Even after Britain has activated Article 50, Brexit can still be prevented, they argue. They also encourage European leaders not to draw red lines on certain concessions which London might demand – a possible reference to Britain's desire to impose immigration controls on EU migrants.

At the same time they warn that “a stance which is too lenient could encourage others to become copycats, with unforeseeable consequences.”

The economist group says though that the short-term economic impact on Germany will be moderate and the country is in a strong enough position to cope with it.

Long-term it is the UK which will suffer most under the split from the rest of Europe, they warn.

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