Who are you to lecture us, Mrs Merkel? German Chancellor accused of trying to bully Britain into staying in the EU
German Chancellor says we would get a raw deal if we were outside the EU
Intervention comes after Dutch and Spanish PM warn of consequences
Just three weeks to go until the crucial referendum on June 23
By JAMES TAPSFIELD, POLITICAL EDITOR FOR MAILONLINE and JOHN STEVENS and JASON GROVES FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 14:19 GMT, 2 June 2016 | UPDATED: 23:45 GMT, 2 June 2016
Angela Merkel was last night accused of trying to ‘bully’ Britain into staying in the EU by warning we would be punished if voters back Brexit.
The German Chancellor sparked a backlash after saying the UK could not expect favourable trade deals if it was ‘outside the room’.
Wading into the debate for the first time, she called for Britain to remain ‘part and parcel of the EU’. Her comments came hours after similar warnings by the Dutch and Spanish prime ministers in what appeared to be a co-ordinated push by the European elite to head off a Brexit vote.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed for Britain to stay in the EU during a press conference in Berlin
Boris Johnson accused the Foreign Office of orchestrating the threats, and said it suggested EU leaders had ‘hit the panic button’ as polls shifted in favour of the Leave camp.
‘The Foreign Office is now desperately wheeling out foreign leaders to threaten the British people with retaliation if they dare to vote to leave and take back control,’ said the former London mayor.
‘The Germans and the Dutch must be worried that if we stop sending Brussels £350million a week they will have to pick up our tab for the EU’s largesse. Angela Merkel’s claims that we will have more negotiating influence if we stay in the EU are completely hollow. David Cameron tried to get reforms to free movement but she blocked them.
‘The In campaign are panicking because they can see that people are turning against them and simply do not believe their relentless campaign of doom and gloom.’
Former Tory defence secretary Liam Fox hit out at the ‘veiled threats’ from Mrs Merkel and other EU leaders, saying: ‘When will they understand we will not be bullied into staying?’ Labour MP and Leave campaigner Kate Hoey said the German leader would be ‘well advised to stay out of what is a very, very important vote for British democracy’.
Former Tory defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth said Mrs Merkel’s refusal to offer serious concessions during David Cameron’s renegotiation showed Britain had no influence inside the EU. ‘Britain was instrumental in rebuilding Germany after the war and helping to restore democracy,’ he said. ‘To be lectured by them for wanting to reclaim our own democracy is a bit rich, and very disappointing.
Cameron urges voters not to 'roll a dice' on children's future
Mrs Merkel made her intervention in the campaign during a joint appearance with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
He added: ‘The idea that we have influence inside the EU is for the birds.’
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested the veiled threat to punish Britain was bogus, as any attempt at a trade war would hit the economies of EU member states hard.
He said: ‘Does Mrs Merkel want to punish German car manufacturers from whom we import billions of pounds of cars each year?’
Mrs Merkel has so far kept out of the EU referendum debate because of fears that a German Chancellor lecturing British voters would backfire.
But with the polls this week suggesting support for Brexit is gathering, she has waded in.
Speaking in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said Britain would have far more influence ‘at the bargaining table’ – and suggested it would struggle to strike a good trade deal. ‘You will never get a really good result in negotiations, particularly on very important issues, when you’re not in the room and giving input,’ she said.
Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy claimed on Wednesday that a Brexit vote would be ‘negative for everybody’. Dutch leader Mark Rutte warned Brexit campaigners that their promise of a points-based immigration system would be met with a tit-for-tat response from other European countries. He told BBC News: ‘You would get a race to the bottom and that’s exactly what you don’t want.’
EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker last night claimed Britons were ‘by far’ more pro-Europe than they let on.
Source: Daily Mail - UK