LONDON (Reuters) - Germany risks becoming the world's biggest cash machine after Brexit because it may end up paying for a failing European Union that is in danger of imploding, Britain's trade minister said on Thursday.
Liam Fox, a leading pro-Brexit campaigner during the referendum campaign, is one of several ministers in Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet who are expected to lead London's formal divorce talks from the European Union.
Fox said that after Britain, the EU's second largest economy, leaves the bloc, Berlin will lose a key ally in enforcing "economic rigour" and could end up paying for other EU nations.
"If I were a German politician I would be worried that, without Britain, Germany has the potential to become the greatest ATM in global history," Fox told The Spectator magazine.
"The architecture is beginning to peel away," Fox said of the EU. "It’s going to sacrifice at least one generation of young Europeans on the altar of the single currency, and you can only rip out the social fabric from so much of Europe before it starts imploding."
But Fox, who was criticised earlier this month for saying Britain has become "too lazy and too fat", also said Britain would need to reform in order to boost its economy after leaving the EU.
"We’ve just now got to probe all the areas where we could be making changes," he said. "Government, the financial sector, culture, all of them will have to play a part."
Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge