Speculation on 'plan B' won't help British pro-EU camp: Germany

31st May 2016, Comments 0 comments

Premature talk of a "Plan B" for the European Union if Britain votes next month to leave will not help the bloc stay together, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned Tuesday.

Asked about behind-the-scenes efforts by Germany and France to ready a joint plan for the future of the bloc after Britain's June 23 referendum on membership, Steinmeier warned of the appearance of meddling.

"The decision rests truly with Britain and we cannot exercise influence over it, we shouldn't exercise influence over it by presenting imaginative proposals about the future of the European Union," he told reporters.

Steinmeier called the talk of a contingency plan "speculative discussions that could have undesired influence on the preparations of the British referendum."

He reiterated Berlin's strong support for Britain staying in the EU.

"The more we confront problems in the 21st century that no state can solve on its own, the more Britain should have an interest in being represented in a community of states," he said.

Steinmeier added that a "Brexit" could create a "negative dynamic" in the EU.

"It is hard to imagine after such a dramatic turning point that it could be business as usual in the European Union of 28 (members) minus one."

The EU is grappling with a series of emergencies ranging from the migration crisis to the return of the Greek debt issue as well as the possibility that Britain could become the first country to crash out of the EU.

While the EU insists there is no "plan B", officials from several key countries including France, Germany and Italy quietly met in Brussels last week to discuss the aftermath of Britain's vote, European sources told AFP Friday.

The proposals put forward by Paris and Britain would involve security issues, but also on issues of "youth" given the high levels of unemployment among young people in the bloc, one official said.

© 2016 AFP

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