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German Industry chief backs EU stance on free movement

One of Germany’s business leaders has backed the EU’s position on free movement. He said that it was important for the EU to stick together. 


The president of the German employers’ federation BDI has told reporters that it is important for the EU to stick together in Brexit negotiations.

“In my opinion, Europe is not the problem, but the solution.”

Dieter Kempf, president of the BDI (Federation of German Industry)

Stefan Wagstyl at the Financial Times reports that he also backed the EU’s position on the EU’s four freedoms including free movement of people. As we know, immigration will be a key sticking point in negotiations.

For politicians in Brussels and Berlin there should be only one motto — keep Europe together and make it stronger. The four basic freedoms of the EU are fundamental”

Dieter Kempf, president of the BDI (Federation of German Industry)

Kempf’s comments will be a blow to a Leave Means Leave campaign that urged EU business leaders to push their governments into agreeing a free trade deal with the UK. Leave Means Leave are pushing for the UK to have a “swift clean Brexit”. They make the case for the UK to leave the single market and customs union as well as being against any transitional deal.

But they do want a free trade deal with the EU. I believe this would be the “have cake and eat it” deal, which EU leaders have consistently said is not possible. Dieter Kempf’s comments support this view.

If Leave Means Leave is pinning their hopes on businesses in the EU campaigning alongside them for a free trade deal, they might be disappointed.

Where the UK is on free movement? Still muddled

So far, Theresa May’s government has refused to provide clarity on whether it would prioritise free movement over the single market.

In a speech yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn appeared to soften his stance on free movement saying that “Labour is not wedded to free movement for EU citizens as a point of principle.” but he also added that they would “not rule it out.”

However, he does appear to put access to the single market first in Labour’s priorities for negotiations.

Labour supports fair rules and the reasonable management of migration as part of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU, while putting jobs and living standards first in the negotiations.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader

You can read the full text of his speech at labour.org.uk.

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