Brexit won't have grave impact on German economy - employers' group

FILE PHOTO: German, British and EU flags flutter in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany December 11, 2018. REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH

BERLIN (Reuters) - Britain’s departure from the European Union will hit some German businesses harder than others, but should not have a serious impact on the overall economy, the head of Germany’s BDA employers’ organisation said on Friday.

BDA President Ingo Kramer told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper he expected the German economy to weather the transition since Britain was only one of several important trading partners.

“Of course Brexit will affect economic developments in Germany, especially some individual companies, but it will not have a serious impact on the overall economy,” he said.

Kramer cited estimates of German economic growth of around 1.5 percent in 2019, but said there were signs Germany’s positive economic momentum of recent years was ebbing.

Britain’s departure from the EU, its biggest shift in trade and foreign policy for more than 40 years, has run into problems complicated by deep divisions in the Conservative Party, the lower House of Commons and the country.

British Prime Minister Theresa May this week survived an attempt to topple her at home but said she did not expect to secure a quick breakthrough in Brexit talks that would allow her to speed her divorce deal through parliament.

Kramer also underscored the importance of migration for the German economy, and said Germany could face economic declines like those seen in the 1990s if it closed its doors to migrants.

He said nearly 400,000 of the roughly one million migrants who came to Germany since 2015 now had a spot in a training programme or a job, and were integrated into German society, validating Chancellor Angela Merkel’s upbeat prediction of “We’ll manage it.”

“Mrs. Merkel was right with her statement. Yes, we will manage the integration,” Kramer said. “I’m surprised myself that it’s happening so quickly. But employers are doing it. Especially we medium-sized businesses are looking for workers.”

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alexandra Hudson