Less than a week after British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged that she could maintain U.K. access to the European “single market” while restricting immigration, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear that she begged to differ.
“If we don’t say that full access to the single market is linked to full acceptance of freedom of movement, then everyone in Europe will start doing what they want,” Merkel said at an annual meeting Thursday for the Federation of German Industries (BDI), a private sector lobbying group, according to Reuters.
In an effort to garner support from German business in the upcoming negotiations over the terms of Britain’s so-called “Brexit” from the European Union, Merkel insisted that the EU’s four freedoms—of goods, people, capital and services—were vital to German industry, English news source The Local reported.
“How much access to the single market does Britain get, and in a reciprocal way, how much access to the British market do we get?” she asked the audience, according to Bloomberg. “We have to make our interests align so that European industry federations don’t put pressure on us.”
May cleared up rumors of a Brexit delay when she told a conservative conference Sunday that the U.K. would trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which allows member states to leave the EU, and begin negotiations with other EU states no later than March.
A slight majority of voters in the U.K. chose to leave the EU in a referendum on June 23, sending the British pound to record lows.
The value of the pound relative to the euro dropped Thursday morning from 1.1391 to 1.1306 euros, while the value of the euro relative to the pound jumped from 0.8785 to 0.8849 pounds over the same period, a sign that the markets may be siding with Merkel.