Angela Merkel has warned Britain not to have any "illusions" about receiving special treatment in Brexit talks.
She told German MPs that any talks about future trade deals could only come after the terms of exit were agreed – the UK wanted to talk about both aspects at once – and that after the UK exited the EU it will have to deal with the 27-country bloc on the same terms as other "third parties".
The German chancellor, who will play a pivotal role in the two-year Brexit negotiations, addressed the Bundestag – one of Germany's houses of parliament – as her government set out its official position on Brexit and the negotiations in a four-page policy document.
"A third state, and that's what Britain will be, cannot and will not have at its disposal the same rights ... as members of the European Union," Merkel said.
"I must say this clearly here because I get the feeling that some people in Britain still have illusions – that would be wasted time."
The Bundestag document – which has the support of all the parties in Merkel's governing coalition – affirms the chancellor's previously stated positions on Brexit. It states that any transitional deal offered to Britain will need to be temporary, and not offer preferential terms versus a final deal.
It confirms Merkel's position on the EU's "four freedoms" are unchanged – meaning there will be no unlimited trading of goods and services without also allowing the free movement of people, which is one of the UK's negotiating red lines.
The document also warns the UK against scrapping regulations or other controls in a bid to become more attractive for investment after Brexit.
James Ball is a special correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London. PGP: here
Contact James Ball at James.Ball@buzzfeed.com.
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