Chancellor Angela Merkel briefed German lawmakers in the Bundestag on Thursday morning before heading to Brussels for a crunch two-day EU summit .
Merkel on Brexit
Even though the EU “is prepared” for a no-deal Brexit, Merkel emphasized that a regulated departure would be “better for everyone.” On Brexit, she also said:
- “A Brexit deal is in everyone’s interest, we will negotiate a deal until the last minute;”
- “We’re on a better path, but haven’t reached an agreement yet;”
- “It’s clear we won’t allow a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland;”
- “We will campaign to ensure the Good Friday Agreement is not jeopardized;”
- “The single market cannot be called into question;”
- “Germany will do all it can to ensure future relations with the UK are rosy.”
After she delivered her speech, EU and UK officials said both sides struck a deal.
“We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control,” British PM Boris Johnson tweeted. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, “it’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that (EU summit) endorses this deal.”
But Brexit negotiations have been here before — seemingly closing in on a deal that is dashed at the last moment. The UK’s Parliament has already voted down prospective deals three times.
No weapons to Turkey
Merkel also spoke about the ongoing Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, stressing that Germany won’t deliver any weapons to Turkey. Turkey launched the operation last week targeting a US-backed, Kurdish-led militia alliance, after a US decision to withdraw from the border.
The German chancellor said she had urged Turkey to end the military action.
Turkey’s incursion into Syria and the EU’s response will also be discussed by the bloc’s leaders during the summit in Brussels. The EU, which has a close relationship with Turkey on an array of subjects such as migration and trade, has stopped short of imposing sanctions.
The next EU budget
Other topics on the agenda of the EU leaders include a negotiating a framework for the next long-term EU budget, due by the end of the year.
Merkel told lawmakers she would discuss a “discount for Germany.”
Also, North Macedonia and Albania are awaiting word from the summit on whether they can start EU accession talks, after EU ministers failed to come to agreement on the move due to French-led opposition.
Merkel said that she will try to convince those at the summit who are not yet convinced about initiating the membership talks with the two countries. “I have to tell you, however, that the chances of us reaching a consensus are not good.”
sri/rt (dpa, Reuters, AP)