Merkel warns United Kingdom not to approach Brexit talks with "illusions"

Owen Stevens
April 28, 2017

Theresa May claimed German chancellor Angela Merkel's tough stance on Brexit shows Jeremy Corbyn is too "weak" to lead European Union divorce talks.

The EU's 27 other leaders will hold a summit in Brussels this weekend to discuss their collective response to Brexit.

The Prime Minister's toughened stance against Mrs Merkel was nearly certainly due to the fact that she is now in an election campaign and wants to adopt a more robust tone for voters and Tory supporters.

"Countries with a third country status - and that's what Great Britain will be - can not and will not have the same or even more rights as a member of the European Union", she said.

Barnier will officially get his mandate to start talks with London on May 22, although actual negotiations are not expected until after Britain's general election on June 8.

"We can only do an agreement on the future relationship with Britain when all questions about its exit have been cleared up satisfactorily", Merkel said. This phased approach "is not only a matter of tactics, but - given the limited time frame we have to conclude the talks - it is the only possible approach".

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Mrs Merkel said: "We will of course do everything to minimise possible negative effects of Brexit for our citizens". In return we are of course prepared to make British citizens in Germany and other European Union states a fair offer.

But Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 4's Today: "We made an offer by the way before Christmas that we would do a deal in advance of the negotiations, that was turned down you may recall by Germany, we're left in a position where we have to do a reciprocal deal, and we're fine with that". The solution is instead to focus on getting both sides to agree a method for calculating liabilities rather than get bogged down on the amount, the people said, asking not to be named, as the bloc's negotiating strategy isn't public.

Responding to Mrs Merkel's comments, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We are approaching this in a constructive spirit and with enormous goodwill".

A group of 50 European politicians have put their weight behind Scottish independence in an open letter calling for a "swift, smooth, and orderly" transition to full EU membership.

She said that as "27 other European countries line up to oppose us", British voters should strengthen the U.K.'s hand by giving her a big majority in Parliament in an election next month.

German lawmakers are due to approve later on Thursday a resolution that lays out broad conditions for the EU's talks with the United Kingdom and will require a say for the Bundestag on the final deal, including any future access to the single market and the shape of any transitional deal.

Other reports by VgToday

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