Don’t worry, Angela’s here! Merkel to broker last-ditch Brexit deal as UK-EU talks crumble
ANGELA MERKEL is preparing for a moment of reckoning this autumn when she hopes to broker a last-minute Brexit deal with Britain.
Katya Adler says there are ‘real clashes’ in UK and EU Brexit talks
The German Chancellor has warned colleagues to brace for a hectic six weeks between September and October in a bid to avoid a no deal as trade talks enter the endgame. Her intervention comes despite a warning from Downing Street that if the EU continues to drag its feet over a deal then the UK would walk away in September without an agreement. Germany’s ambassador to the bloc said Brexit would “absorb most of the political attention we expect in September and October.”
Michael Clauss told a Brussels-based think-tank it was “definitely” possible to secure a deal, “but it also means the UK needs to have a more realistic approach”.
The senior diplomat added: “You cannot have full sovereignty and at the same time full access to the internal market.”
Brussels sources have said it is unlikely the two sides will reach a compromise in the coming weeks, ahead of a high-level showdown between Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator David Frost is holding talks with EU counterpart Michel Barnier via video conference this week in the forth round of trade talks.
Angela Merkel is hoping to broke a last-minute Brexit deal in October
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
EU diplomats believe the added “time pressure” of the looming expiration of the transition period at the end of the year will focus minds.
One EU source said: “We’ve never taken the idea of walking out of talks seriously, we’re more concerned about moving forward in the talks.”
Mr Clauss said he expects the deal to be agreed by EU leaders in mid-October at a summit in Brussels.
He said: “We hope that we will have a deal by the European Council in October… We cannot be much later because it would need to be ratified at least by the European Parliament, which needs some time.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Germany will take over the EU’s rotating presidency next month, handing Mrs Merkel the task of leading the bloc’s agenda.
The veteran leader has signalled wants to use her status to prioritise negotiations with Britain ending without an agreement.
Mr Clauss said the Brexit talks will “dominate” Berlin’s six-month period at the helm of the EU.
Political analyst Mujtaba Rahman said: “The Government shouldn’t be giddy, it should be cautious. The Brits have been getting Merkel wrong consistently for over 14 years.
Lead negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier
“She will try and prevent no deal if she thinks Boris Johnson is serious.”
But Mrs Merkel’s Brussels envoy also said the bloc would have to start preparing for Britain leaving the transition period without an agreement.
Mr Claus said: “At some stage, we will have to look at whether we believe an agreement is very likely… but if it is quite unclear, definitely, on the EU side, we will start.”
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