German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the UK it would not be granted the same rights as other EU nations once Brexit is finalized.
Delivering a speech hours after British Prime Minister Theresa May commented that she wants a “deep and special relationship” with the EU, Merkel warned on Wednesday that the UK should not be fooled into thinking that it will have a prosperous future relationship with the bloc.
“A third state, and that’s what Britain will be, cannot and will not have at its disposal the same rights…as members of the European Union,” Merkel said. “We can only do an agreement on the future relationship with Britain when all questions about its exit have been cleared up satisfactorily.”
“You may think this is all obvious. But I’m afraid I get the sense some in Britain still have illusions about Brexit – that would be wasted time.”
Her warning is the latest in a string of threats delivered by EU leaders to Britain in just the last few months.
EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker has repeatedly called on his colleagues to financially and culturally punish Britain for leaving the EU, even going as far to say that other member states will be too scared to leave the bloc after it makes an example out of Britain.
“A third country cannot have the same benefits as member states,” he said earlier this month. “This parliament must and will ensure this reality is fully upheld over the course of the next two years.”
When asked in March if he was worried that other member states may try to leave the EU as well, Juncker replied: “No. Britain’s example will make everyone realize that it’s not worth leaving.”
“On the contrary, the remaining member states will fall in love with each other again and renew their vows to the European Union,” he added.
The EU has been so vindictive against anyone who supported Brexit that Juncker even threatened to break up the U.S. in retaliation for President Trump’s support of it.