Europe will be big Brexit winner, says German economics minister

Europe will be the big winner of Brexit, Germany’s economics minister said, as UK-headquartered companies move to the continent and Emmanuel Macron’s reform push leads to a new “spirit of revival” that will benefit the whole of the EU.

Brigitte Zypries made the prediction on Wednesday as she revealed the German economy was growing at a faster rate than previously estimated. The government now expects gross domestic product growth of 2 per cent this year, up from a forecast of 1.5 per cent, as Europe’s economic powerhouse continues to charge ahead. The economy will also grow by 1.9 per cent in 2018, she said.

Ms Zypries said Germany’s economic boom had “gained momentum and become more broad-based”. The economy would “also remain on a growth trajectory in the years to come”. “Germany is doing well and the next government must ensure that it continues to do so,” she said.

The global economic recovery had stimulated German exports and led to an increase in private sector investment: incomes were rising and unemployment falling. The number of people in work had grown by 2.5m during the past four years.

The strong economy provided a positive backdrop for last month’s Bundestag elections, in which Angela Merkel won a fourth term as chancellor. But her conservative bloc suffered its worst election result since 1949 as voters disappointed by her liberal refugee policy defected in droves to the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany.

Brigitte Zypries:’ Europe will rather be the winner’ from the UK’s departure from the EU © Getty

Ms Zypries brushed off any possible negative effects from Brexit, saying various studies had shown that “Europe will rather be the winner” from the UK’s departure from the EU. She said the government had noted that “many companies are moving their headquarters from the UK to Germany”.

Philipp Steinberg, the ministry’s head of economic policy, said Brexit would also open the way for a “new…

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