Angela Merkel has come close to washing her hands of finding a mutually satisfactory deal with the UK over Brexit as formal talks founder and the end of the transition period looms at the end of December 31.
“We need to let go of the idea that it is for us to define what Britain should want,” Merkel said in an interview with a number of European newspapers, including Britain’s Guardian. “That is for Britain to define – and we, the EU27, will respond appropriately,” she said.
Hardening her tone, she said that the departing Uk will have to “live with the consequences” of Boris Johnson’s hardline Brexit and the strong chance of a no-deal.
For more than three years the Chancellor has repeated willingness to embrace a reciprocal UK trace deal that would continue bilateral trade at or close to current levels. However, following an impasse in UK-EU negotiations, she warned that the door is no longer open.
On July 1 Germany takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, and the priority now is not Brexit, but a rescue package for the battered post-coronavirus European economies.