Brexit: German minister sees model for Turkey and Ukraine

Brexit: German minister sees model for Turkey and Ukraine

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Sigmar Gabriel is foreign minister in Germany’s current, caretaker government

A “smart” Brexit deal could serve as a model for the EU’s future relations with other non-EU states, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says.

Turkey and Ukraine are two states which could benefit from the template, he told Germany’s Funke media group.

He did not see either joining the EU any time soon, so alternative forms of closer co-operation were needed.

The UK’s future relationship with the EU, which it is due to leave on 29 March 2018, is still being negotiated.

The two sides agreed this month on the three “divorce” issues: how much the UK owes the EU, what happens to the Northern Ireland border and what happens to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK.

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“If we can reach a smart agreement with Great Britain that outlines its relations with Europe after Brexit, then that could serve as a model for other countries,” Mr Gabriel said.

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Turkey’s President Erdogan (L) with EU chief Jean Claude Juncker in 2015

He foresaw a “new, closer form of customs union” with Turkey, provided the situation in that country changed. Germany is concerned at Turkey’s human rights record under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Under a customs union agreed between Turkey and the EU in 1995, goods may travel between the two areas without customs restrictions although it excludes agricultural products. Talks on accession, however, have not moved since 2005.

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L) with Mr Juncker last month

An association agreement currently exists between Ukraine and the EU which fosters political co-operation and trade.

In June 2016, the UK voted in a referendum to leave the EU after more than four decades of membership.

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