‘I wouldn’t bet with high stakes’ shock as EU commissioner says Brexit is not a done deal

Günther Oettinger warns public opinion shifts based on the economy

By Allan Hall/ Express

“I would certainly not be betting with high stakes on Brexit,” said Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. He made his comments to Germany’s Bild newspaper. While acknowledging that the Brexit vote on June 23 is legally binding, Mr Oettinger went on: “Public opinion could shift when the economic situation worsens following the result of the referendum.”

Mr Oettinger said that the longer the UK waits to trigger the Article 50 procedure that would initiate Brexit talks, “the more uncertain the situation is, both economically and politically.” “If the departure is not completed by spring 2019, newly elected British MEPs could be sitting in the next European Parliament.”  The commissioner also warned other EU countries’ contributions to the bloc’s budget could increase after the UK quits. “To ask the remaining countries to pay even more, will be difficult to explain,” Mr Oettinger said, but observers see no other way to meet the shortfall.

The comments come as German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Britain’s decision to leave the European Union would have long-term consequences that were still difficult to estimate, and said both sides needed new, fair and binding rules for their future ties. Steinmeier told over 1,000 German diplomats and business executives at a foreign ministry conference that it was in Britain’s interests to start the process quickly given economic effects that were already becoming evident.

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