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EU facing ‘bitter reality of UK exit’: German chief says soft Brexit is NOT an option

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Dieter Kempf, president of Germany employers federation BDI, said there is no question of Brussels bowing to demands for controls on immigration.

Mr Kempf warned the crumbling bloc’s freedom of movement as well as freedom of services, capital and the single market must not be “put into danger”.

The industry chief echoed Angela Merkel’s calls for a hard Brexit as she warned Britain would be be allowed to cherry-pick single market access.

Dieter Kempf, president of Germany employers federation BDI, said there is no question of Brussels bowing to demands for controls on immigration.

Mr Kempf warned the crumbling bloc’s freedom of movement as well as freedom of services, capital and the single market must not be “put into danger”.

The industry chief echoed Angela Merkel’s calls for a hard Brexit as she warned Britain would be be allowed to cherry-pick single market access.

Last summer BDI leaders favoured securing a market access deal for Britain similar to Switzerland and Norway.

But the industry’s harder line comes as Theresa May admitted Britain will not be able to keep “bits” of its membership of the bloc.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly said she will not reveal her strategy before triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in March.

Mr Kempf urged the Prime Minister not to delay the start of negotiations.

BDI sees growth of about 1.5 per cent this year for GermanyPHOTOTHEK

BDI sees growth of about 1.5 per cent this year for Germany

He said: “The ball is in London’s court. It is necessary that the British government sets out its position by the end of March… recent weakening of German-British trade shows that the uncertainty over the coming process is poison for the economy.”

The BDI president also warned incoming president Donald Trump against attempts to seal off the US and limit free trade.

He said: “This would damage the whole global economy and in particular the export-oriented German economy.”

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