A no-deal Brexit would do more damage to the UK economy than the European Union’s, according to the German finance minister.
Speaking on Saturday following a meeting of 27 EU finance ministers in Berlin, Olaf Scholz said there would be “significant consequences” for Britain.
“My assessment is that an unregulated situation would have very significant consequences for the British economy,” Scholz told a news conference.
However, he added that the European Union would be less affected and are well prepared for such a scenario.
“Europe would be able to deal with it and there would be no particularly serious consequences after the preparations we have already made,” he said.
It comes as Boris Johnson tries to push through a controversial bill.
The so-called Internal Market Bill has caused controversy both in the UK and on the continent.
It addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is designed to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.
If written into UK law, it would give ministers the power to “disapply” rules relating to the transport of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK that would come into effect from 1 January, should the UK and EU fail to strike a trade deal.
The EU has threatened legal action should the bill be passed, while the European Parliament said it would scupper any chance of a trade deal.
Prime Minister Johnson said it was needed to protect Britain’s integrity.
Scholz also said that the European economy had been recovery better than expected.
There had been significant fears at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic of the damage that would be done.
However, he added that governments should continue to support companies and consumers alike.
“The pandemic is not over, but the indicators … show that the economy is recovering much better than we feared some time ago, and that is something that applies to the European Union as a whole but also to the individual member states,” Scholz said.