Germany will continue to push to seal a new partnership agreement with Britain by the end of the year, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. However, she warned that the European Union should also prepare for an abrupt split in 2021.
“Progress in negotiations thus far has been slim, to put it diplomatically,” Merkel told the European Parliament in Brussels as Germany assumed the EU’s rotating presidency for the rest of the year. “I will continue to push for a good solution, but we should also prepare for a possibility of a no-deal scenario.”
Britain has so far rejected EU pressure to commit to close ties in areas ranging from fisheries to harmonizing competition standards, since PM Boris Johnson wants only a narrower trade deal, Reuters said.
Merkel also said that her priorities during Germany’s six-month presidency of the European Council include shoring up fundamental rights that have been threatened by the current health emergency. “Europe will emerge from the crisis stronger than ever if we strengthen cohesion and solidarity,” she added.__EuroNews