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Still chance for Brexit deal, Germany's Merkel says

Christian Fernsby |
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that there is still a chance to strike a Brexit deal with the U.K.

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“Where there is a will there is a way,” Merkel said, speaking at a press conference in Dublin during a visit to the Irish capital.

Merkel added that she will work “until the very last hour” to prevent a no-deal scenario, which would be problematic for all parties.

However, she said this would require a new proposal for a way forward from British Prime Minister Theresa May if the U.K. will be granted a further extension to the article 50 -- a process any leaving EU member triggers to start divorce talks.

Asked whether she believed Ireland could protect the EU single market without a hard border with Northern Ireland, Merkel said: "We will simply have to be able to do this.”

“We will have to be successful,” she added.

"I think you also have this phrase 'where there's a will, there's a way. And we’re working on this."

Merkel underlined the significance of her visit to Dublin, saying it is because Germany wanted to show its solidarity with Ireland at a difficult time.

“We do hope that the intensive discussions that are ongoing in London will lead to a situation by next Wednesday, when we have a special council meeting, where Prime Minister Theresa May will have something to table to us on the basis of which we can continue to talk,” Merkel said.

She added: “We want to stand together as 27. Until the very last hour --I can say this from the German side -- we will do everything in order to prevent a no-deal Brexit; Britain crashing out of the EU.

“But we have to do this together with Britain and with their position that they will present to us.”

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he still would like to see the Brexit deal is ratified in London but not much time left for that.

“We have to prepare ourselves for all outcomes,” he said, stressing the possibility of a U.K. crash out.

Varadkar said he discussed with the German chancellor about plans on a no-deal Brexit.

"Including how we will work together to meet our twin objectives of protecting the Good Friday [1998 Belfast] Agreement on which peace in Ireland is based and also protecting the integrity of the European Single Market and Customs Union on which our economic model is founded," he said.

"I welcome the Chancellor's continued understanding and support for the challenges that we face and if it arises it will be a shared challenge for Ireland and the European Union, " he said, adding patience is needed with Westminster.

Echoing Merkel, Varadkar reiterated that a further Brexit extension will require a credible and realistic way forward.

He said: “Matters continue to play out in London and I think we need to be patient and understanding of the predicament that they are in.

“But of course, any further extension must require and must have a credible and realistic way forward.

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