EU 'Strong Enough' to Survive Brexit: Merkel
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that the EU could survive a Brexit and warned Britain the union would not tolerate "cherry-picking" in upcoming negotiations on their future relations.
"The EU is strong enough to withstand Britain's withdrawal," she told the German parliament ahead of a crisis summit of the 28 member states in Brussels.
"It is also strong enough to successfully defend its interests in the world in future."
Voicing confidence in the union as it confronts the first defection since its founding, Merkel said the EU would continue to be a guarantor of "peace, prosperity and stability".
Merkel, who is expected to take a leading role in future negotiations with London, again voiced her regret that Britain had voted in a referendum last week to quit the bloc, according to AFP.
She said both sides had a "strong interest" in maintaining "close and friendly relations".
But she stressed Britain would not be able to dictate the terms of its ties to the EU.
"We will ensure there are no negotiations based on the principle of cherry-picking," she said to applause.
"There must be and will be a noticeable difference between whether a country wants to be a member of the European Union family or not."
"Anyone wishing to leave this family cannot expect to lose all the obligations but keep the privileges," She added.
"This applies to Britain as it does to everyone else," she said.
A non-EU country can join the common market if it accepts the free movement of people, goods, services and capital, she added, mentioning the example of Norway.