(Adds details, background)
By Holger Hansen
BERLIN Jan 11 The top priority in Brexit
negotiations for the 27 countries remaining in the European
Union must be to hold the bloc together, even if this means they
suffer one-off economic hits, Germany's Social Democrats (SPD)
said in a policy paper.
"Were we to allow a 'Europe à la Carte', this would lead to
incalculable domino effects that would threaten the unity of the
Union," the parliamentary party of the SPD, junior partner in
Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, said in the paper.
"The short-term interests of individual groups or member
states, including Germany, must recede behind this long-term and
overarching goal if there is a conflict," said the paper, seen
by Reuters. It added that foreign investments in Britain could
lose value or delivery chains be affected.
In the paper, entitled "Strengthening the cohesion of the
European Union - our key points for the Brexit negotiations",
the SPD said any transitional arrangements for Britain after it
leaves the EU should be short-term and tied to tight conditions.
"We reject open transitional rules without a precisely
agreed time frame or a clear definition of the new ties," said
the paper, dated Jan. 9. It is to be discussed - and likely
adopted - by the SPD's parliamentary party on Thursday.
The paper largely reflects the line taken by conservative
Merkel who says there will be no cherry-picking for Britain and
that the EU must consider limiting British access to the single
market if it fails to accept the bloc's four freedoms in talks.
The EU's single market enshrines the four freedoms of
movement of goods, capital, people and services.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to
regain control over immigration, restore British sovereignty,
including by pulling out of the European Court of Justice (ECJ),
and secure the best possible trading relations with the EU.
The SPD said the rules of the single market, which include
fair competition, are guaranteed by the ECJ.
"Without recognition of this function (of the Court) of
having the last say, participating in the single market will not
be possible, also and in particular, for the service sector,"
said the paper.
The SPD also said it was prepared to protect the status of
Britons in the EU during Brexit talks, as long as Britain does
the same for EU citizens there and urged London to provide more
clarity about its goals for Brexit.
"Even seven months after the referendum, the contours of the
broad goals with which the government in London will enter talks
are barely visible," said the paper.
(Writing by Paul Carrel and Madeline Chambers; Editing by