By Will Hardy
A TRADER at the popular German Christmas market in Leeds say Brexit could damage the event.
He said Germans who travel to Leeds for the annual Christkindlmarkt would see it as less worthwhile in the future.
The market transforms Leeds city centre into a scenic winter village with over 40 traditional wooden stalls and indoor venues offering a selection of traditional seasonal goods as well as specialist German products.
Henrik Kraus, 42, who has been selling German food such as pretzels and bratwurst for more than a decade said: “I am worried Brexit could make the Christkindlmarkt much less successful.
“I think it is a mistake for the UK to leave the European Union – lots of trade and cultural experiences could be lost and international relations and cultural integration will increase in difficulty.”
Mr Kraus said if Brexit were to go ahead it would no longer be financially viable for him to take part in the market.
The consequences of Brexit for events such as Christkindlmarkt were last week highlighted to the German public by a group of German business leaders and politicians.
This group are pleading for the European Union to attempt to reverse Brexit by offering Britain a resolute deal on free movement and immigration.
Concerns are rising with the Leeds public that the Christkindlmarkt is already in decline in its 16th year.
Jake Dawson, a 23-year-old student who was visiting the market at the weekend, said: “The German theme was not immediately obvious like it has been in previous years – it felt more traditionally English with the Germanic side watered down.
“The stalls were not well spread out making the already confined area even more cramped and very busy.”
But not all the stallholders were as pessimistic about the future.
Frank Vogt, who sells German bier and gluhwein, said: “I do not think there will be much of an impact with Brexit, we are part of a very popular event and we all want it to continue.
“Brexit will make organising and attracting foreigners to the market increasingly difficult but the work is worth it – it is important to keep European countries well integrated in the future, even if they are not in the EU.”
The Germanic-themed Christmas market runs in Millennium Square for an increased duration this year – from November 10 right up until Christmas Eve.
For more information see: https://whatson.leeds.gov.uk/germanchristmasmarket/Home