Germany will continue to push to seal a new partnership agreement with Britain by the end of the year, but the European Union should also prepare for an abrupt split from 2021, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.
Britain left the EU in January and is currently in a standstill transition period with the bloc to give the two sides time to fix a new relationship in everything from trade to security.
Last week’s round of talks was cut short, with both sides saying that, while they wanted an agreement, they had yet to overcome the gulf in positions that could see Britain leaving the transition period without a trade deal.
British and EU officials meet in London this week for talks on goods, services, fisheries, governance, the so-called level playing field guarantees of fair competition and law enforcement after the two sides’ negotiators had an informal dinner.
“Progress in negotiations thus far has been slim, to put it diplomatically,” Merkel told the European Parliament as Germany assumed the EU’s rotating presidency for the rest of the year.