Merkel warns of ‘endlessly complex’ Brexit process

German Chancellor Merkel speaks during a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Modi at the Chancellery in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany feels Frankfurt is entitled to host the European Banking Authority after it leaves London as part of the “endlessly complex” process of extricating Britain from the European Union, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

But she said her priority was achieving certainty for EU citizens in Britain and Britons in the EU after Brexit, though this was just one task of many in a withdrawal process whose consequences would be felt years into the future.

“Britain is a partner, Britain is a friend,” she said, “but (It is) the endless complex web of a finely intermeshed market.”

The complexities would be immense, she said, listing issues that ranged from health certificates for “250,000 dogs and cats a year” crossing borders to holiday insurance, medical cost transfers and consumer protection.

“All of that is simple enough on Day One, but we need safeguards built in after five years too, so that the playing field doesn’t become wholly tilted,” she warned at a banking conference in Berlin.

The European Banking Authority belonged in Germany after it left London, she added, “because with Frankfurt, we already have a proper centre.”

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michael Nienaber/Jeremy Gaunt)