BERLIN (Reuters) - German companies on Tuesday demanded that Britain agree by next week to an interim phase based on the status quo for its transition from the European Union and said that otherwise they would implement ‘worst case’ contingency plans.
“We demand a basic decision on this from the EU and British government at the European Council meeting. Otherwise, some companies will be forced to implement emergency plans for a worst case scenario which noone wants and which will hurt everyone,” said Joachim Lang, Managing Director of the BDI industry association.
German firms would prefer a deep form of integration between Britain and the EU after Brexit, it said. Ideally, Britain would stay in the customs union and single market, said the BDI, options the British government has rejected.
German companies are still preparing for a range of outcomes to the negotiations between Britain and the EU, including the scenario of a hard Brexit in which no agreement was reached, Lang said, adding that next week’s EU summit would be crucial.
“Our companies need predictability. Now there is the chance to reduce uncertainty for companies on both sides of the channel,” Lang said.
“If the EU summit does not provide clarity, then some companies will be forced to trigger their contingency plans,” Lang said.
He did not say what measures these contingency plans would include. But Lang said that foreign direct investment flows to Britain had already slowed last year and that German exports to Britain had fallen in 2017.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Writing by Madeline Chambers, Editing by Angus MacSwan