Angela Merkel, Michel Barnier discuss Brexit in Berlin | News | DW | 24.01.2019
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Angela Merkel, Michel Barnier discuss Brexit in Berlin

The German chancellor is scheduled to meet the European Union's envoy in talks with Britain over its exit from the bloc. Their views differ greatly from British Prime Minister Theresa May and her pro-Brexit lawmakers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to receive the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Berlin on Thursday.

The meeting comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May tries to salvage a withdrawal agreement that can win support of British lawmakers and the EU.

Before Barnier met Merkel, he sat down with Andreas Michaelis, a state secretary from the German Foreign Office, which said on Twitter that the EU would continue to act in unison during negotiations.

"What happens next with Brexit? One thing is sure: The EU speaks with one voice," the office wrote. 

Barnier rejects backstop proposal: Earlier in the day, Barnier dismissed London's demand to time-limit the deal's Irish backstop — a provision to keep an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland — in an interview with German public radio. Hard-line pro-Brexit lawmakers in London have suggested the time limit as a way to secure their support for the withdrawal deal.

Watch video 00:31

Barnier on no-deal Brexit

No London-Dublin deal: In the same interview, Barnier said British Prime Minister Theresa May's proposal to sign a separate deal with Ireland to break the impasse was impossible. The Irish border would become an EU border and therefore affect all remaining EU member countries, he said.

EU no-deal plans: The remaining 27 EU member countries have been intensifying their preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Italy's Finance Ministry said on Thursday that it had drafted no-deal measures to protect the country's finance industry.

What happens next? The British parliament is scheduled to debate and vote on multiple next steps on January 29.

cmb, amp/msh (dpa, Reuters)

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