On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Brussels to plan for a no deal Brexit with the UK. Addressing members of parliament in the Bundestag, the long-serving leader said: “To put it mildly, progress in the negotiations has been very limited. “I will continue to press for a good solution.
“But we in the EU and also in Germany must and should prepare for the event that an agreement is not reached after all.”
Her warning comes as the deadline for extending talks passes, with negotiations now surely set to end on December 31 with or without a deal.
The UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, and his EU counterpart met for the first time in months in Brussels on Monday, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a deal could be reached this month with “new momentum”.
Mrs Merkel’s warning has therefore been seen as a U-turn, signalling compromise cannot be reached.
According to former Foreign Secretary and SDP co-leader Lord David Owen, though, her position on Brexit has actually been extremely consistent.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Lord Owen said: “Initially, after the Brexit referendum, the German car industry wanted to make very strong demands right away and say ‘we have got to allow this relationship with Britain to continue.’
“But Merkel got them in and said ‘I don’t want you to make a fuss and I don’t want Germany to be the lead demander of the negotiating terms.’
“‘We must go into it as an overall negotiation.'”
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“German politics is in a very raw state at the moment – nobody quite knows which way it is going.”
Mrs Merkel is set to step down as Chancellor in 2021.
Despite giving up command of the party in 2018, when Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer was voted in as the new CDU leader, her successor’s subsequent resignation, coupled with a postponed party meeting to pick a new leader, means Mrs Merkel is still at the helm of her party and country.