The Times: Europe needs Britain in these troubled times, 18.01.2019

Dr Norbert Röttgen: It is your choice but Europe needs Britain in these troubled times

By Dr Norbert Röttgen, MP

For decades the European Union has brought our peoples closer together. It has forged a European identity that some of us might feel stronger than others at times – and yet it is undeniably there. Our friendship lays the foundation for peace in Europe and within this fruitful environment our nations have equally prospered. A Brexit with no deal puts all these achievements at risk.

Because we as Germans are deeply committed to a close relationship with the United Kingdom, we do not want to stand by and watch Brexit unfold, without at least expressing ourselves clearly. We want you to stay! This is our dearest wish, but should you decide to leave, we hope for it to be on terms that safeguard the tight bond between our European nations.

This sentiment is broadly shared across German society. It is therefore no surprise that the response to sign the Times-letter to the British people has been overwhelmingly positive. The party leaders from CDU, SPD and the Greens have rallied behind the call, which has equally been supported by the President of the German trade unions and all federal associations of industry and commerce. This is unprecedented.

The choice is up to you, but please allow me to be blunt in sharing my assessment: After this week’s parliamentary vote against the Brexit Deal we have a new reality. There seems to be no constructive majority in the House of Commons for any way of implementing the referendum. Therefore only two options are on the table: A hard Brexit or Remain. Against this backdrop, should you decide that the British people deserve to have a second vote and therefore need more time, I cannot imagine the European Union to disagree. Because we are certain: Europe needs Britain, especially in these troubled times.