Germany’s foreign minister has welcomed a “bit more clarity” from UK Prime Minister Theresa May after her major Brexit speech on Tuesday, saying it is positive that she wants to work constructively with the EU.
On Tuesday, May confirmed the UK will leave the EU single market during the Brexit process. Other priorities include removing Britain from the jurisdiction of EU courts and imposing controls on immigration.
“[May] emphasized that Great Britain is seeking a positive and constructive partnership, friendship with a strong European Union. That’s good,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement after May’s speech.
Steinmeier said Germany also wants the closest and most trusting relations possible with Britain, according to Reuters, but reiterated that negotiations could only begin once the British government invokes Article 50 to officially start divorce talks.
“It’s in the interests of Germany and Europe to strengthen the cohesion of the European Union of 27 members and to protect the unity of the European Single Market,” Steinmeier said.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to issue a response to May’s long-expected confirmation that the UK will seek a ‘hard Brexit.’
Sturgeon’s deputy Angus Robertson has described the PM’s stance as a “big problem.”
In a tweet, he implied there was a contradiction between May’s renewed pledge to consider Sturgeon’s repeated requests to keep Scotland in the single market and the UK government’s decision to leave it.
Labour MP Angela Smith, meanwhile, described May’s speech in one sentence: “I want to have my cake and eat it.”
Theresa May’s speech in one sentence: ‘I want to have my cake and eat it’. #Brexit
— angela smith (@angelasmithmp) January 17, 2017
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall says the speech is a “good start,” but was a “bit concerned” that it would be a “slow motion Brexit.”
Prime Minister speaks for Britain! A Global Britain outside of the European Union! Well done Mrs May !!
— Peter Bone (@PeterBoneMP) January 17, 2017
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage tweeted he could not believe May is using the language he has been criticized over for years.
My worry is how long this is going to take and when we will start doing a deal with the USA and others.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) January 17, 2017