A British MP and his German counterpart have called for a post-Brexit “treaty of friendship” between the two countries, as concerns grow in Berlin that relations could turn increasingly hostile over the coming months.
The proposal was published on Sunday (2 February) in the UK The Times and German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung by Norbert Röttgen, head of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Tom Tugendhat, chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
It came the weekend after the UK formally left the EU on Friday (31 January) evening after 47 years of membership, marking one of the biggest political and economic shifts in modern European history, ending a shaky three-and-a-half-year departure process.
“Much of our future relationship will be regulated at European level as part of the ongoing Brexit negotiations. But some issues are bilateral and require strengthening of intergovernmental cooperation,” both MPs wrote.
“Such a contract would complement the agreements that will be made between the UK and the EU in the coming weeks and months,” they added.
“Geography and geopolitics is not changed by Brexit.”
The idea is an early instance of an expected “bilateralisation” of the UK’s ties with the bloc, as European governments seek to forge customised relationships with London in keeping with their individual interests.
The 31 January departure from the bloc marks the start of a “transition period” in which the UK remains a member of the single market and customs union and begins negotiations with the EU to strike a free-trade deal until the end of 2020.
However, besides trade, most of the other policy areas have not yet been settled, with foreign policy and security ties raising concern of dissent.
Both politicians acknowledged “different perspectives on Brexit”, they said they were keen to “move on” from the issue. [...]
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