He said: “The free movement of people is an issue that the EU has to solve.
“They have to give countries more freedom, I believe, otherwise it could break up over this.
” The pressure is growing and so the EU will have to make certain concessions in favour of the member states.”
Mr Maurer’s comments struck a different tone to other European countries, many of whom had warned about the costs that Brexit could lead to.
Mr Maurer added: “The UK has lots of advantages and if they are used cleverly to decouple from the EU, as well as the new freedom in a good bilateral relationship, then the UK could develop very positively – I’m convinced of that.”