Queen Elizabeth II again made political comments when she cautioned British and German politicians over the ‘dangers of division’ at a state banquet in Berlin. Buckingham Palace has denied the statement was political.
The British monarch espoused the benefits of cooperation between European nations as she remembered the “worst” events of the continent’s history during her speech on Wednesday night.
Her comments have been interpreted as endorsing the UK’s membership of the EU, but also as a warning to Germany not to entertain Russia. However, Palace officials denied that the Queen was expressing a political stance.
The Queen’s unusual intervention into European politics coincided with the publication of a report suggesting a British exit from the EU could take a decade to negotiate and be fraught with economics risk.
The monarch was hosted by 75-year-old German President Joachim Gauck, who was once an anti-communist civil rights activist in East Germany.
From the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Euroskeptic Foreign Minister Philip Hammond were in attendance at the banquet.
Speaking directly to Gauck, the Queen said: “In our lives, Mr. President, we have seen the worst, but also the best of our continent. We have witnessed how quickly things can change for the better. But we know that we must work hard to maintain the benefits of the post-war world.
“We know that division in Europe is dangerous and that we must guard against it in the west as well as in the east of our continent.”
In a show of agreement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported to have nodded vigorously during the Queen’s speech.
The monarch’s comments in Berlin follow a carefully scripted intervention in British politics in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum, in which she asked voters to “think very carefully.”
Gauck emphasized the importance of Britain’s role in building democracy in Germany after the war, expressing his country’s enduring gratitude.
Research by former UK Foreign Office chief economist Gregor Irwin indicates a ‘Brexit’ would damage business in the UK and further afield, impacting on the Netherlands, Ireland and Cyprus particularly hard.
Irwin’s report concludes a Brexit would damage Britain’s regulatory influence, dampen the attractiveness of the City of London, deter inward investment and hobble business activity through protracted uncertainty.
The UK stands to lose the most from Brexit in economic terms, he added.