German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble and French president Emmanuel Macron have suggested Britain can still stay in the European Union if it decides to change its mind on Brexit. They say the door to the EU will remain open to Britain during Brexit negotiations, which get underway next week in Brussels.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Schäuble said:
“It’s up to the British Government to take their own decisions. It would not be helpful if we started speculation whether that will happen or not. The British Government has said we will stay with the Brexit. We take the decision as a matter of respect. But if they wanted to change their decision, of course, they would find open doors.
“There is a new opportunity to bring Europe forward. Philip Hammond and myself, we agreed from the first day that Brexit is a decision we have to accept by the British voters. But we will minimize the potential damage and maximize the mutual benefit.”
Speaking in Paris in a joint press conference with Theresa May, Macron, the newly elected French leader told reporters the decision to leave the EU could still be reversed if the UK wished to do so but added that time is of the essence if the decision is to be reversed:
“The door is still open for the UK to remain in the European Union. [However] The decision has been taken by the sovereign British people. I do respect that. From a European point of view, as long as the negotiations are not over, there is still a possibility to change the course of events.
“Until negotiations come to an end there is always a chance to reopen the door. [But] As the negotiations go on it will be more and more difficult to go backwards.”
Reacting to Schäuble and Macron’s comments, Guy Verhofstadt, the EU parliament’s coordinator on Brexit, said Britain is free to change its mind and stay in the European Union, but it would have to give up special perks:
“I agree. But like Alice in Wonderland, not all the doors are the same. It will be a brand new door, with a new Europe, a Europe without rebates, without complexity, with real powers and with unity.”
Meanwhile, according to the “Citizenship Survey” conducted by CS Global Partners, 89% of Britons want dual citizenship after leaving the European Union. Australia is the top country of choice for dual citizenship, followed by the United States, then Canada and Germany.
In the meantime, UK citizens have taken to Twitter to express their perspective hoping that Britain stays in the EU: