The German Chancellor said her country “works well” with the UK in Europe, and warned that our influence will be diminished if we quit the 28-nation bloc.
But senior Eurosceptics said her comments betrayed the “panic” engulfing David Cameron’s ‘Project Fear’ camp, adding that she should have stayed out of the democratic debate.
Mrs Merkel’s bombshell intervention comes as the latest polls show the two sides neck and neck, with the Leave campaign building huge momentum over the last week.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin today the beleaguered German leader – whose popularity has plummeted over her disastrous handling of the migrant crisis – said Britain staying in the EU would be “for the benefit of all of us”.
But Boris Johnson said her remarks show ‘panic’ has set in among the Remain camp
And in a thinly veiled threat to voters she said that countries outside the Brussels club “never really get a good result in negotiations” – a proclamation that echoes Barack Obama’s claims Britain would be “back of the queue” for a trade deal.
Mrs Merkel said: “Obviously, it is up to the citizens of the UK themselves how they wish to vote on the upcoming referendum. I’ve said repeatedly before that I personally would hope and wish for the UK to stay part and parcel of the EU.
“We work well together with the UK particularly when we talk about new rules for the EU.