Hard Brexit would be ‘fatal,’ European business leaders warn May

London – Europe's business leaders warned British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday of the risks of Britain crashing out of the European Union, amid concerns that her government has failed to draw up a viable Brexit plan.

The British premier had called 15 business groups - including from Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Sweden as well as Britain - for a meeting that Downing Street said was to discuss the "importance of maintaining and developing the strong connections between EU and UK markets."

Without a deal would be fatal for industry

Instead the groups told May that ending the negotiations "without a deal would be fatal for industry," Ulrich Hoppe, who heads the German-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told dpa.

Setting the stage for May's meeting with business leaders, Joachim Lang, a leader of the powerful Federation of German Industry (BDI), last week told dpa: "The danger of a very hard Brexit remains high."

Contingency plans

The BDI, which attended Monday's talks, believes that the fraught negotiations for leaving the EU meant that Britain could end up crashing out of the Brussels-based bloc.

Many companies have already drawn contingency plans in case Britain makes an uncontrolled departure from the EU, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which also attended the meeting with May.

The talks with May also included BusinessEurope and the Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF).