THE size of the United Kingdom and its long-standing membership of the European Union mean it could secure “special status” when it seeks to strike its post-Brexit deal with the trading bloc, according to a German minister.
What the UK’s relationship with the EU could look like after a Leave vote was debated at length during the referendum campaign.
Many people suggested the UK could follow the so-called Norwegian model, with Norway a member of the European Economic Area but not a member of the EU.
However, Michael Roth, Germany’s European Affairs minister, told Reuters it is possible that the UK could be given its own unique deal.
He said: “Given Britain’s size, significance and its long membership of the European Union, there will probably be a special status which only bears limited comparison to that of countries that have never belonged to the European Union.”
Mr Roth said he wants the relationship between the EU and the UK to be “as close as possible” but repeated a warning previously given by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the UK will not be allowed to “cherry-pick” when it negotiates.
One of the major sticking points between the UK Government and the EU is likely to centre around freedom of movement.
Mr Roth also said he “can’t imagine” the UK being allowed to keep its access to the European single market if it demands restrictions on freedom of movement during negotiations.