German Chancellor Angela Merkel
is the “only hope” for saving the tumultuous Brexit
talks with the European Union (EU), says former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage.
Speaking on a radio program on Sunday, Farage endorsed Merkel in her ongoing bid for re-election against her center-left rival Martin Schulz.
“My feeling is she is a pragmatist, and probably the most positive leader in the European Union towards finding a sensible solution,” Farage said of Merkel.
“She has been solid dependable and reliable. There is an economic logic to her,” he added. “If there is any hope in saving Brexit talks, it lies with her.”
Farage even advised the German chancellor to “listen to the voice of German business, think of German jobs” and challenge EU leaders.
The comments came days after the third round of EU-UK Brexit talks and surprised many in the British political circles since Farage has proven to be an outspoken anti-EU politician while Merkel is known as a fierce opponent of countries leaving the bloc.
In fact, ever since June last year, when more than half of British voters opted to end the UK’s membership in the EU, Merkel has warned London on several occasions that leaving the bloc would be costly.
In April, she said the UK would be downgraded to a “third country status” after Brexit and British politicians should not be under the “illusion” that they can retain their EU rights and privileges once they leave.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” she said addressing her parliament, “you may think that all this is self-evident. But I have to put this so clearly because I get the impression that some in Great Britain still have illusions about this, and that is a waste of time.”
Schulz, on the other hand, is even more of a Europhile than Merkel and has called for “the hardest Brexit possible.”
The current head of Germany
’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) has even suggested that the UK should hold another EU referendum.
Farage led a strong anti-EU campaign in the run-up to the referendum and stepped down from his position as UKIP chief after the vote. He has continued to openly criticize the EU as a Member of the European Parliament.