BERLIN Oct 6 German Economy Minister Sigmar
Gabriel said on Thursday that the European Union should try to
keep Britain as close as possible in negotiations on their
future relationship following the Brexit vote, while
safeguarding the bloc's interests.
Speaking at an industry event in Berlin, Gabriel said it was
important to make clear that full access to the bloc's single
market was ultimately linked to accepting freedom of movement.
"But this should not prevent us from trying to do everything
to keep the Britons as close as possible to Europe. This must be
our goal," Gabriel said.
"We must try to formulate offers in a way so that the
Britons remain close to us, also to have the chance that they
return some day," he added.
His comments marked a more cautions tone after Chancellor
Angela Merkel stressed at the same event that the EU must stand
firm by its position that access to the single market is linked
to freedom of movement in negotiations with Britain.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Joseph Nasr)