The U.K. will become "an economic competitor on our own doorstep" after Brexit, Angela Merkel said Wednesday, while stressing that she believes a no-deal exit could still be avoided.
The German chancellor's warning during a parliamentary debate comes after several EU countries last week expressed concern that the U.K. could try to boost its economic advantage post Brexit by pursuing a strong deregulation push.
France and other countries said they want to impose tariffs on Britain if the country weakens "its commitments to fair competition."
"After the withdrawal of Britain, we will have an economic competitor at our own doorstep, even if we want to keep close economic, foreign and security cooperation and friendly relations," Merkel told MPs.
During Wednesday's debate, she also said she is "firmly convinced" that the EU and U.K. still have "every chance" to resolve Brexit "in an orderly way."
"The German government will work toward making this possible until the very last day," she said, but added: "We are prepared for a disorderly Brexit."