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Cutting out Brussels middleman, UK ministers make Brexit pitch to Germany

From Reuters - January 10, 2018

BERLIN (Reuters) - Facing a tough line from Brussels on what economic ties between Britain and the European Union will look like after Brexit, a pair of senior British ministers made a direct pitch to Germany to cut Britain a good deal.

Due to visit Europes most powerful nation on Wednesday, finance minister Philip Hammond and Brexit minister David Davis wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that the German economy also stood to lose out from a tough Brexit deal.

As two of Europes biggest economies, it makes no sense to either Germany or Britain to put in place unnecessary barriers to trade in goods and services that would only damage businesses and economic growth on both sides of the Channel, they wrote.

But EU chiefs have repeatedly stated that Britain would not be allowed to cherry-pick things it liked about the EU while rejecting others, and that the post-Brexit relationship would necessarily be less favorable than EU membership.

And so far, EU countries have resisted engaging in detailed bilateral talks about Brexit with Britain. They have presented a united front and vested their representatives in Brussels with the authority to negotiate with London.

Hammond and Davis called for Britain and EU countries to retain access to each others markets under current rules during a transition period between exit day on March 29, 2019, and the yet-to-be-determined date when a final settlement is enacted.

They reiterated Britain would leave the European customs union and single market when it left the EU. But they argued that in building a new relationship negotiators should not restrict themselves to models that already exist.

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