Wolfgang Schäuble made the shocking confession at Davos this week
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble surprised fellow world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week with his emotional confession.
But he signalled the EU was ready to seal a deal with the UK which would be positive and speedy for Britain.
Speaking to a panel of politicians, he recalled that his first reaction to the result of the EU exit referendum was simply tears.
He said: "My first reaction to Brexit was: I started crying."
Mr Schäuble was speaking to a panel at the World Economic Forum
But the federal minister also used his speech to warn against a failure of upcoming Brexit negotiations, saying it “would be a disaster for all of us”.
He vowed to do everything possible to cushion the shock of Brexit for both the UK and Europe, and avert a 'cliff-edge' slump in trade if there is no finished deal by the March 2019 deadline.
The minister said: ”We have to minimise the damage for the United Kingdom and Europe.
“The German government will work in the negotiations always in this direction, to minimise any risk for both of us.”
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My first reaction to Brexit was: I started crying.
Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's Finance Minister
He also reassured British ministers that a “comprehensive, bold and ambitious free-trade agreement” with the European Union can be made to work.
Although, Mr Schäuble gave no indication as to what terms for a new trading relationship he would find acceptable.
But he also stated a sudden rupture at the end of the two-year talks – after Article 50 is invoked – must be avoided at all costs.
But he also highlighted his concerns over uncertainties in the world – particularly in the EU following the Brexit vote – could have a negative impact on the German economy.
The minister used his speech to warn against a failure of upcoming Brexit negotiations
Wolfgang Schäuble vowed to do everything possible to cushion the shock of Brexit
Mr Schäuble added: “I am somewhat unsure about what will happen in the Eurozone this year.
”Geopolitical risks have increased and not decreased.
"But we have elections in some important member states. The German economy will notice this."
But he added he does not expect negative effects of the Brexit decision to hit the eurozone this year.