Prepare to lose 'the nice things' Germany warns UK

GERMANY'S economy minister has said that Britain should no be allowed to keep the "nice things" as it negotiates its departure from the European Union.

Sigmar Gabriel said that the world was watching how Britain manages Brexit and that Europe could go "down the drain" if things go badly.

"Brexit is bad but it won't hurt us as much economically as some fear. It's more of a psychological problem and it's a huge problem politically," Mr Gabriel said, noting that the world was now looking at Europe as an unstable continent.

"If we organise Brexit in the wrong way, then we'll be in deep trouble. So now we need to make sure that we don't allow Britain to keep the nice things, so to speak, related to Europe while taking no responsibility," he added.

His comments come amid growing tensions on the continent and in the UK.

Mr Gabriel said negotiations would be "very difficult" and that Britain would not be able to have both full access to the single market and limits on the freedom of movement of workers.

Theresa May has set her stall out as a "Brexit means Brexit" leader. A Eurosceptic who remained neutral during June's EU referendum, Ms May says her government will abide by the results of the vote and intends to open exit negotiations with EU colleagues next year.

But a meeting this Wednesday, in which ministers will discuss with the Prime Minister how to make a success of Brexit, comes in the face of opposition from civil servants and growing tensions among the senior ministers in charge of negotiations.

Leading pro-EU MPs have also stepped up pressure on Ms May to secure the "best possible relationship" with Brussels after Brexit. A cross-party alliance of former ministers issued a joint plea for the Prime Minister to resist "false choices", including on the issue of remaining in or quitting the European single market.

The UK has two years in which to formally negotiate its way out of the European Union once Article 50 is triggered.

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