Prominent Germans issue 'stay with us' plea to UK

High profile German's including business leaders, celebrities and politicians, including Angela Merkel's likely heir, sign a letter to Britons making a plea to avoid Brexit and remain in the European Union.

Germany flat in Berlin
A group of prominent Germans, including Angela Merkel's heir apparent, has made an impassioned plea to Britons to remain part of the European Union.

High profile Germans including Angela Merkel's likely successor sign letter

In a letter to The Times, the 31 high-profile German politicians, business leaders and celebrities - led by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of the Christian Democratic Union and the chancellor's likely successor - say that Britons should know "from the bottom of our hearts, we want them to stay".Other signatories include Thomas Enders, head of Airbus; Andrea Nahles, leader of the Social Democrats; Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, leaders of the Green Party; Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI); and Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler. Celebrities include former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and singer Campino.

German companies face uncertainty without UK withdrawl agreement on future trade

The letter came as the BDI warned that many German companies were "looking into the abyss" as the UK edged nearer to leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement to guarantee future trade and supply chain arrangements.Published on Friday, the letter  read, "Without your great nation, this continent would not be what it is today: a community defined by freedom and prosperity. After the horrors of the second world war, Britain did not give up on us. It has welcomed Germany back as a sovereign nation and a European power. This we, as Germans, have not forgotten and we are grateful."Because we realise that the freedom we enjoy as Europeans today has in many ways been built and defended by the British people, we want Britons to know that we respect their choice. And should Britain wish to leave the European Union for good, it will always have friends in Germany and Europe. But Britons should equally know that we believe that no choice is irreversible. Our door will always remain open: Europe is home.

Letter emphasises personal and political solidarity with UK in addition to economics

"Britain has become part of who we are as Europeans. And therefore we would miss Britain. We would miss the legendary British black humour and going to the pub after work hours to drink an ale. We would miss tea with milk and driving on the left-hand side of the road. And we would miss seeing the panto at Christmas."But more than anything else, we would miss the British people — our friends across the Channel. We would miss Britain as part of the European Union, especially in these troubled times. Therefore Britons should know: from the bottom of our hearts, we want them to stay."The letter's publication coincided with remarks in Brussels by one of the signatories who warned of dire consequences for the German economy if the UK left the bloc without a deal.

German business leaders also uncertainty of a no-deal Brexit

Mr Kempf, head of the BDI, said, "A chaotic Brexit is now getting dangerously close to happening. Our companies are looking into the abyss.“It has to be clear to everyone that the UK could in a matter of weeks become a 'third country' for the EU. That would mean one of our closest trading partners would fall behind countries such as Turkey, South Korea and Ghana in terms of the rules that govern our economic relationship.”He said that predicted GDP growth of 1.5 per cent for the German economy this year could be reduced to just one per cent if there was “massive disruption in trade” with the UK.An estimated 750,000 German jobs rely on trade with the UK. Total trade in goods and services with Britain is estimated to be worth £154 billion a year.In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, German economy minister Peter Altmaier said that, were there to be a no-deal Brexit, "everybody in Europe would lose - there would be no winners".Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news.