Brexit: Germans want Angela Merkel to offer UK 'harsh exit negotiations'

Only five per cent of Germans now see Britain as the country’s most important foreign policy ally

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The Independent Online

German citizens want Angela Merkel to offer the UK “harsh exit negotiations” over Brexit, according to a new poll.

Fifty-eight per cent of the public think Berlin should offer no compromises over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, the Korber Foundation revealed.

A hardline approach is particularly popular with supporters of Ms Merkel’s own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, with 64 per cent supporting such an approach.

Support for a compromise deal is strongest among the right-wing Eurosceptics Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), with only 44 per cent backing the tougher stance.

The results come amid reports Mrs Merkel blocked a request by Theresa May to guarantee the rights of EU citizens already living in Britain before Brexit negotiations begin next year. 

The Prime Minister’s attempt at a “reciprocity deal”, which would have enshrined the rights of 1.2 million British people living on the continent, were rebuffed earlier this month.

Worryingly for supporters of a soft Brexit, the survey indicates the German chancellor now has a mandate to drive a hard bargain.

A tough negotiation strategy is most popular in the former West Germany, with the support of 64 per cent of the electorate, while German men are more hardline than German women. 

Only five per cent of the country's citizens now see Britain as the country’s most important foreign policy ally, compared with 60 per cent for France. 

Brexit agreement 'impossible' within two-year period

But overall the survey showed Germans views the EU in a much more positive light than Britons, with 79 per cent of respondents believing the union a project for peace.