Airbus chief calls for soft Brexit, higher German military budget

The A400M, the military transport aircraft by Airbus. [Marcelo del Pozo / Reuters]

Airbus is pushing the British government to opt for a “soft Brexit” in which Britain stays in the European Union’s single market, its chief executive said on Sunday (4 December), warning that the future of the aerospace group’s investments in the United Kingdom hinged on it.

“In the UK, just like other companies, we are lobbying hard in favour of a soft Brexit,” Airbus Group Chief Executive Tom Enders told French daily Le Figaro in an interview published on Sunday.

“All our planes’ wings – I’m talking about more than 1,200 wings a year – come out of our English plants,” Enders said. “What’s at stake is the continuation of our investments in Britain.”

A “soft Brexit” in which Britain keeps in or close to the EU’s single market would retain many trade and business benefits it had as member.

Enders also said Europe should increase spending on defence and security to a minimum of 2% of gross domestic product, instead of the current 1.5%.

“Germany, which has Europe’s most solid economy, should increase its military budget,” Enders said, adding that France and Germany should cooperate more closely.

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