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Brexit latest: Angela Merkel warns UK it will join US and China as competitors of EU after leaving bloc

The i logo The i 14/10/2019
© Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

The UK will join the likes of China and the US as a competitor to the European Union once it leaves the bloc, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned.

Technical negotiations between London and Brussels are ongoing amid growing concerns that a Brexit deal may not be secured in time.

But despite the uncertainty around the UK’s departure from the EU, Mrs Merkel has reiterated fears about the type of neighbour the UK will become if and when it does leave.

What next for Brexit? Follow key developments, expert analysis and multiple perspectives as the UK edges closer to leaving the EU

“With the departure of Great Britain, a potential competitor will of course emerge for us,” Mrs Merkel told journalists at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Sunday.

“That is to say, in addition to China and the United States of America, there will be Great Britain as well.”

© Getty

UK threat

Mrs Merkel has emerged as among the most apprehensive of EU leaders when it comes to the type of role the UK will play post-Brexit and the impact it will have on the bloc’s own economy.

© Getty Her warning also marks a significant shift in tone on the type of relationship between the UK and EU once Brexit is delivered since Boris Johnson has become Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

During Theresa May’s premiership, Downing Street repeated that it was leaving the EU but not leaving Europe and would remain close allies with the Continent.

Related: 16 things to know about Merkel (Photos)

Central to that approach was Mrs May’s commitment to a “level playing field” after Brexit, which would have kept the UK aligned to EU competition and tax rules as well as social and environmental protections.

But Mr Johnson scrapped the commitment earlier this month, signalling the UK will become a direct competitor with the EU as soon as it leaves the bloc.

Brexit: A timeline [Photos]

New Singapore

It came after Mrs Merkel cautioned German politicians that the UK could become a Singapore-style low tax, low tariff banking haven after it exits the EU.

“After the withdrawal of Britain, we will have an economic competitor at our own doorstep, even if we want to keep close economic, foreign and security cooperation and friendly relations,” she said last month.

The UK has a banking sector that dwarfs the rest of the EU, and is around three times the size of either Germany’s or that of France.

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