If the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union, it will not be given any special treatment, Germany politicians have warned.
While Leave campaigners have said that the UK would be able to strike a free trade agreement with the EU, senior German lawmakers today said that if the UK leaves the bloc, negotiations will be tough.
"Rules will be without doubt set for the internal European market. Discussions among leaders will take place as usual and Britain will not be there," Michael Grosse-Broemer, deputy floor leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) told journalists during a briefing, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Gerda Hasselfeldt, parliamentary group head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Merkel's Bavarian allies, said: "To me, it is clear: exit means exit. Citizens have to know that with this decision there will be no special treatment for Britain."
The statements call into question assertions by Leave campaigners, including Mayor of London Boris Johnson, that the UK could negotiate a free trade deal with the EU that does not include the free movement of people or having to sign up to EU rules and regulations.
The issue has become somewhat contentious in the buildup to the referendum, with the Remain camp stating that countries currently in the single market but not the EU, such as Norway, still have to accept free movement and EU rules, but do not have a seat at the negotiating table to make their voices heard.
In terms of trade, near 44 per cent of the UK's good and services are exported to the EU, while EU member-states on average do nine per cent of their trade with the UK, bolstering the argument that the UK will have a weak negotiating hand post-Brexit.
However, in value terms, the UK has a deficit with the EU, and therefore Leave campaigners have said that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs it.
"These comments from senior German MPs vividly demonstrate that out means out. If we stay in Europe, we will enjoy future economic security and global influence as part of the EU. If we leave, we face a leap in the dark that would put jobs, mortgages and public services at risk," said Lucy Thomas, deputy director of Britain Stronger in Europe.
"Vote Leave say they’ll walk away from the single market and negotiate a new deal, but they can’t explain what it would be and how long it will take. The truth is if we left, the EU would not give us a better deal than they have for themselves. German MPs have made that quite clear today. Our economy, influence and security are stronger in Europe, while leaving would be a risk not worth taking."