Merkel ally warns of ‘great danger’ ahead of critical Brexit trade talks

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s key political ally has warned of a “great danger” and panic in Germany at the prospect of a no deal Brexit at the end of trade negotiations.

Detlef Seif, a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has warned there is a “great danger of an unregulated Brexit” at the end of the transition period on December 31. The member of the Bundestag since 2009, has also dismissed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strict deadline and insisted it is “inevitable” trade talks will go beyond the 11-month timetable and into 2021. In making his prediction, Mr Seif launched a stunning attack on Brexiteers and insisted if the “spirit” of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU continues, it could influence a Brexit stalemate at the end of the year.

He said: “I would also like to see a close and friendly partnership between the two sides in the future.

“However, a major risk for the negotiations lies in the fact that the Brexit decision was not based on facts, but arose from pronounced populism.

“If this spirit persists, I still see the great danger of an unregulated Brexit after the transition period has ended.”

Negotiations between Brussels and the UK have already got off to a rocky start after the Prime Minister outlined he would pursue a Canada or Australian-style trade deal with the bloc.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the UK and EU should be “way more ambitious” and stated both models fell short of allowing trade without tariffs and quotas.

Tensions between the UK and Brussels have also arisen over access to British waters for EU fisherman and competition regulations.

The German politician claims Mr Johnson will insist on the “widest possible access to the single market” without being restricted by EU rules.

However, Mr Seif stated the EU would maintain its tough negotiating stance and “will not tolerate cherry picking of the British side”.

He said: “The unity of the EU27 during the exit negotiations was the reason for the good outcome of the negotiations.

“However, the EU27’s determination not to cross red lines and, if necessary, to regulate only a few points or nothing at all is just as important.

”We can assume that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will try to give the UK the widest possible access to the single market – if possible without being bound by EU standards and without the decision-making powers of the European Court of Justice.

“This is indicated by statements by the Prime Minister and his advisers. We will not tolerate cherry picking of the British side.”

By the end of the year, Mr Seif said he expects there to be cooperation between the police, intelligence services and the judiciary.

The ally of Ms Merkel insisted in many other areas of the negotiation “only a basic agreement is realistic”.

He added: “In the few months of negotiations, only a basic agreement is realistic that covers the areas in which gross disruption is otherwise imminent.

“The conclusion of a comprehensive free trade agreement and a security partnership will take years, so that, in my opinion, further negotiations after the end of the transition phase – from 2021 – will be inevitable.”

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