Senior business leader says effects would be much more serious than UK admits

Many businesses in Germany are still hoping the UK reverses its decision to leave the EU, according to one of the country’s top business leaders, who also warned of the dangers of a hard Brexit.

“The risk of a hard Brexit is growing by the day,” said Joachim Lang, the head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), in a wide-ranging interview with the Rheinische Post newspaper. “Every business would do well to prepare for this worst-case scenario.”

German businesseshad been unsettled by the British government’s recent warnings, he said. “What’s new is that the British government itself is now warning about the possibility of a hard Brexit It is carefully preparing its population for that.”

The BDI , which describes itself as the voice of German industry, has set up a Brexit taskforce of more than 200 experts to assess the risks.

“We suspect that the effects of a hard Brexit will be considerably more serious than the British government is currently telling its citizens,” said Lang. “And above all, in Britain itself. The British have already gone from a growth engine to the worst performers in Europe.”

Foreign investment in the UK had plummeted, he said, which was “a dramatic development which should prompt urgent action from the government in London”.

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