Brexit will create a lot of damage for Britain, says senior German politician
A senior German politician has warned that Brexit will be "Mission Impossible" and will create "a lot of damage" for the UK.
Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest political group in the European Parliament, said the process of the UK's break from the EU would not be an easy task.
The German MEP, chairman of the centre-right European People's Party group, hit out at British politicians for failing to explain the benefits of the European Union before the Brexit vote.
At a press conference in Strasbourg alongside the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, Mr Weber set out the scale of the challenge but insisted that the EU would be able to cope.
"When I have a look at the content and the topics on the table, for me it is still Mission Impossible ahead of us but we can manage this," he said.
"This will create a lot of damage, especially for the Brits, for sure, nobody had the wish to do this but it is the reality.
"We have to start to recognise this. This will not be an easy task ahead of us, especially having in mind to defend the interests of the European Union.
"It will be a mirror, from my point of view, to show the people in the European Union that it is much more better to reform the European Union than to destroy the European Union.
"It will show what Europe is all about.
"None of the British politicians ever explained to people in Great Britain what is Europe, nobody. And with Brexit everybody will understand this, in a negative way."
Mr Verhofstadt indicated that proposals for "associate citizenship" for Britons were still under consideration.
He said: "Within a few weeks we will come forward with a proposal for a resolution."
He added that the purpose of the parliament's resolution on Brexit would be to influence the guidelines for the negotiations that will be decided by the heads of government in the European Council and handed to the official in charge of the talks, Michel Barnier.