German party heads, industry bosses and celebrities — 31 in all — signed a letter published in The Times newspaper on Friday using hokey clichés to underline how much they would miss the UK should it leave the union of 28 European countries.
The most powerful politician among the signatories is Annegret Kamp-Karrenbauer, the head of Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party and the heir apparent to Chancellor Merkel’s position when she steps down in 2021. Others include pop-punk singer Campino of the Toten Hosen and former pro soccer player Jens Lehmann, who ended his career in 2011 with London club FC Arsenal.
And the CEOs of pan-European planemaker Airbus and Mercedes manufacturer Daimler, Tom Enders and Dieter Zetsche respectively, were also among those who signed the letter.
“We would miss Britain. We would miss the legendary British black humor and going to the pub after work hours to drink an ale. We would miss tea with milk and driving on the left-hand side of the road,” the letter reads, not stopping to explain how those things would disappear from the world should Brexit come to pass.
Don't mention the war
The letter touched on the UK’s favorite topic — its victory over Germany in WWII — by thanking the island nation because “Britain did not give up on us” despite the atrocities. The letter also says the UK made a major contribution to the freedoms Europeans enjoy and then sidestepped an oft-repeated criticism of Leavers – that the UK had given up its sovereignty by joining the EU – by saying they “respected” the UK’s choice to leave.
Germany on Thursday began its own preparations for Brexit, passing a transition law that dovetails with the now-rejected deal reached between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas encouraged European politicians to revisit the agreement and Kramp-Karrenbauer said it wasn’t too late for the UK to reconsider.
“We will not block the path to Britain remaining in the EU,” the Times quoted Kramp-Karrenbauer as saying. “London must now put forward constructive proposals as to how to proceed.”
Andrew Bulkeley is an editor in Berlin for Handelsblatt Today. To contact the author: [email protected]