'Reset and start again': EU hopeful Brexit solution is found 'after summer', says German ambassador

23 June 2022, 10:11 | Updated: 23 June 2022, 10:18

By Fiona Jones

The European Commission 'thinks it's possible' to find a solution to the post-Brexit Northern Ireland trade issue after the summer, the German ambassador to the UK Miguel Berger tells LBC.

It comes as the second reading of the Northern Ireland protocol is expected to take place at Westminster on Monday.

The bill, if passed, will allow the Government to override parts of the post-Brexit trade agreements for Northern Ireland which were finalised under Theresa May's premiership in 2018.

Andrew questioned the ambassador over EU reaction to this reading: "You've been very clear what you think about the British Government overriding [the protocol]...can I ask you what will happen from the EU side if the British Government goes ahead with this. Will there be a trade war?"

"I really hope that we can avoid a trade war," said Mr Berger, "I can tell you there is a lot of disappointment with this Bill especially because we thought with the whole Ukraine crisis this was not the moment to have this debate."

Mr Berger added that many European capitals feel "there is space to find a negotiated solution" to the issue of post-Brexit trade.

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"We hope that maybe after the summer break, the Commission and the British Government can sit down and find a solution. We think it is possible."

The ambassador agreed with Andrew's surmise: "Reset and start again."

In terms of German companies' trade in Britain, Mr Berger observed there has been a 25% decrease of trade for German companies in Britain.

"The Chamber of Commerce calls it an industrial decoupling. I would say we are quit concerned, nevertheless it's still time to take some measures.

"We still have 2,500 German companies in the UK, half a million jobs in the UK, so we really hope that there will be some measures which will allow our companies to continue to invest and produce in the United Kingdom."