Mr Altmaier is demanding clarity over Brexit, but would welcome a delay of a few weeks in Britain’s EU withdrawal date. According to Statista, 102,900 German jobs are at risk in the event of a hard Brexit, the highest amount of any foreign country. German car makers fear a hard Brexit would harm their industry, with thousands potentially losing their jobs.
Angela Merkel’s CDU finance chief Mr Altmaier stressed he was “no friend” of more extensions on Britain’s Brexit leaving date of March 29.
But he warned a hard Brexit could hit thousands of German workers and urged Brussels to grant the prime minister more time.
Mr Altmaier said: “Over the next few days we need to be clear about how this process of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is taking place.”
He added the EU must “find a way together which will end with as little porcelain being smashed as possible and endangers as few jobs as possible in Germany and Europe.”
It comes as Theresa May scrambles to win EU concessions on the Northern Ireland backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement.
The British Prime Minister and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox faced a race to win support for Mrs May’s Brexit deal before the Commons vote on March 12.
A quarter of German companies believe jobs will be slashed after hard Brexit, a survey by Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) and consulting firm Deloitte showed.
Germany sold 770,000 vehicles to the UK in 2017, with the industry having the third highest car production in the world and fourth highest total motor vehicle production.
France, Italy and Poland would lose almost 50,000 jobs each after a hard Brexit, Statista claims, with Ireland’s much smaller economy seeing 19,800 jobs at risk after a hard Brexit.
Spain (31,100), the Netherlands (25,200) and Belgium (16,200) are also predicted to lose thousands of positions.
China could see as many as 58,800 jobs haemorrhaged after a hard Brexit
Mr Altmaier insisted businesses should not be given “additional difficulties” by the actions of EU politicians.
He said: “My goal is to contribute to Germany remaining on a growth path in the medium and long term.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.