Theresa May to Angela Merkel: ‘Deep and special’ UK-EU relationship will continue

Posted On: 
29th May 2017

Theresa May has responded to Angela Merkel’s claim that the EU can no longer “completely depend on” Britain, by insisting the “deep and special” partnership with the bloc will endure.

Theresa May addressing Conservative supporters in Twickenham
PA Images

The German chancellor said last year’s Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump meant Europeans must “take our fate into our own hands”.

“The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days,” she said.

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“And that is why I can only say that we Europeans must truly take our fate into our own hands – of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbours wherever that is possible also with other countries, even with Russia. But we need to know we must fight for our own future, as Europeans, for our destiny.”

Addressing activists in London today, the Prime Minister said the UK would “continue to be committed” to working with EU countries in areas such as trade and security.

“It is right that the European Union will themselves have some decisions to take about the nature of that organisation going forward,” she said.

“And that’s what the 27 have started to look at and what they’ll need to look at for the future.

“I’m very clear that we continue to want a deep and special partnership with the remaining 27 countries in the European Union, and we will continue to be committed to working with others in Europe, both in terms of a comprehensive free trade agreement but also in terms of our security.

“And we’re also committed to ensuring that we continue to play the role that we have done at the forefront of Nato, which with the United States and others ensures that we keep Europe safe.”

Her comments echo those of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who this morning sought to “reassure” Germany that Britain would continue to be a “strong partner”.

"We can reassure Mrs Merkel that we want to have a deep and special partnership so that we can continue to maintain European-wide security to keep us all safe from the terrorists abroad and those that are trying to be nurtured in our country," she told the BBC earlier today.