Defiant Angela Merkel says she is ‘ready’ to remain Chancellor until 2021

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Mrs Merkel relinquished control of the Christian Democratic Union in December, handing over the leadership reigns to her protege Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. She promised to stay on as Chancellor until the next general election, in 2021, despite previously saying the role of party leader and Chancellor go hand-in-hand. Speaking on a visit to Luxembourg today, Mrs Merkel moved to sweep aside criticism and calls for her to stand down.

The 64-year-old cemented her firm position as leader of Germany by saying she is ready to remain Chancellor until 2021.

She said she must continue as Chancellor to complete the mandate given to her by voters at the last election in 2017.

Mrs Merkel made the comment at a press conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel where the pair reiterated the EU’s stance that negotiations on the Brexit divorce deal will not be reopened.

Mrs Merkel said the EU must “do everything to achieve an orderly Brexit” but added the Withdrawal Agreement can not be renegotiated.

She added: “It is about providing as much security as possible and we both feel a duty to do everything for a deal but it must be a fair agreement that works in practice and we have some work ahead.”

Mr Bettel also ruled out further talks on Theresa May’s maligned deal, which was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs last month.

He said: “It is not possible to find a better result.

“The priority is to protect the integrity of the EU internal market and minimise the effects of Brexit for citizens.”

Mrs Merkel was making a one-day trip to the Grand Duchy before Mr Bettel travels to Madrid for talks with embattled Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Mr Sanchez has called an emergency cabinet meeting for later this week ahead of speculation he will call a snap general election.

During the Luxembourg trip, Mrs Merkel was welcomed on Place Clairefontaine with military honours.

Later in the day she met Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.

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