The European Union should prepare for a possible “no-deal” result in the ongoing Brexit negotiations on the future trade relationship with the United Kingdom, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday.
“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,” Merkel told the German Chamber of Deputies on the first day of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU (presidency rotates every six months).
The UK and the EU embarked on Monday on five weeks of intense negotiations on their post-Brexit relationship, with a shared desire to finally move forward to avoid a potentially disastrous “no deal” at the end of the year.
The UK, which left the EU on 31 January, is in a transition phase during which it continues to apply EU rules until 31 December.If no deal is negotiated by then, World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules will apply for trade between the two of them, with high tariffs and extensive customs controls.
The UK will have to “bear its consequences” of a weaker economic relationship with the EU at the end of the Brexit process, Merkel warned on Saturday in several European newspapers. “If the UK doesn’t want to set rules that match the EU in terms of environment, labour market or social standards, our relationship will be less close,” she said.
The Brussels Times