Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel wants the EU and post-Brexit Britain to have a “close relationship”, she told world leaders today at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Merkel said she was open to the form this partnership would take, but that it must not compromise the EU’s core principles.
She added that Brexit was "obviously regrettable", but that it had helped the EU to move forward and "concentrate on the big issues".
The German leader also warned against isolationism and protectionism, with a thinly veiled allusion Donald Trump’s reign in the White House – and perhaps also the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“If we are of the opinion that things are simply not fair, that there is no reciprocity, then we have to seek multilateral answers and not pursue a unilateral protectionist course where we isolate ourselves,” she said.
Drawing parallels between today and the beginning of the First World War 100 years ago, Merkel said that countries should beware of “national egotism” and learn lessons from the past.
Merkel's speech came a day after global banking heads warned that markets were becoming "complacent" and financial regulators had run out of ammunition to fight the next financial crisis.