Leave Britain alone! EU urged not to punish UK over Brexit

Leave Britain alone! EU urged not to punish UK over Brexit
Germany’s foreign minister has said the European Union must resist the temptation to treat Britain too harshly as a result of the Brexit vote.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that while he regrets the UK’s decision to leave the EU, he respects the will of the British people.

“We should resist the temptation to treat Britain overly harshly – not out of pity but in our own interest,” he said. “We need Britain, for example, as a partner in security policy and I am also convinced that Britain needs us.”

The EU has been unsure of how to deal with Britain’s decision to leave the EU since the UK referendum last June. Questions about how UK businesses and workers will be affected by Brexit have yet to be decided.

READ MORE: Britain eyes up share of EU assets as part of Brexit divorce

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 to begin exit procedures from the 28-country bloc as soon as March. The process will take up to two years for both sides to sort out the terms of the exit.

While the EU was never meant to be a global actor, times are changing, Gabriel warned.

“Germany will do everything so that Europe does not split up!” he said.