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German business leaders not amused by Brexit

German business leaders have said the news about Britain resolved to leave the European Union has come as a shock to them. There's agreement that the decision will deteriorate bilateral trade relations.

The president of Germany's Ifo economic research institute, Clemens Fuest (pictured above), said Friday Britain's decision to leave the EU was bad news.

"The decision of British voters to leave the European Union is a defeat of common sense," Fuest said in a statement. "Policymakers will now have to do everything in their power to contain the economic damage arising from the Brexit vote," he added.

The Ifo chief also demanded that negotiations on Britain's future integration in the bloc's market be finalized as quickly as possible so as to avoid a protracted period of uncertainty.

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The head of Germany's foreign trade association BGA, Anton Börner, called the outcome of the UK referendum "a catastrophe for Europe and the German economy in particular."

"It's alarming that the world's oldest democracy is turning its back on us," he told the DPA news agency. He also warned that the Brits themselves would be the first to feel the

negative economic impact of the "Leave" vote.

German employers' association BDI said Friday it expected an immediate impact of the vote on bilateral trade relations between the UK and Germany.

"We believe that trade volumes will go down significantly over the next couple of months," BDI Managing Director Markus Kerber said in a statement.

"We do not expect any new major German direct investments to go ahead in Britain," he added. He also said that 400,000 Germans work in the UK, warning that their jobs would be in danger, particularly in the car and electronics industries as well as in the retail and finance sectors.

hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)

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