A senior German official is stressing that the European Union doesn't want to punish Britain for leaving, but says its departure will not be good for the U.K. or the rest of the EU.
Formal Brexit negotiations begin Monday, nearly a year after Britons voted to leave.
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Germany's deputy foreign minister, Michael Roth, told RBB Inforadio that "we must of course protect our interests as the EU 27 but naturally we also don't want to punish Britain."
Roth said that "Brexit is a very, very difficult operation" and there's only a bit over a year to negotiate it. He added: "Brexit won't make anything better, but it will make a lot of things more difficult. And we want to try to solve the difficult things as well as possible."