In a speech delivered in Frankfurt on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that a “no deal” Brexit is a distinct possibility.
“We don’t want the discussions to break down,” the German Chancellor said, specifying that such an eventuality can’t fully be ruled out. Nonetheless, Ms Merkel vowed to commit “all our force and creativity to make sure a deal happens.”
Ms Merkel expects the UK to become a third country but secure a trade deal that will lay the foundations for its future relationship with the EU.
“Exit means exit,” the Chancellor said.
In mirroring Theresa May’s “Brexit means Brexit” statement, the German Chancellor was also reiterating the German position that a “third party” relationship cannot be the same as EU membership. The statement is also bound to appease Brexit hardliners in the UK who insist the EU aims at derailing Brexit.
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, precisely two years after Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union.
The Chancellor did not rule out a continued partnership in some sectors, including security. Europol wants to continue sharing information with the UK, while London is seeking a kind of “associate membership.” If accepted, this would create a precedent for other agencies of interest to the UK.
Meanwhile, Stuttgarter Zeitung reports on Wednesday that the German foreign ministry is preparing for a no-deal Brexit, not least by hiring additional staff for customs controls.