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As May’s Soft Brexit Plans Flounder, Merkel Warns Negotiations Could Collapse

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Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
VIRGINIA HALE

Angela Merkel has warned finance bosses in Germany that Brexit negotiations could collapse, as polls show Britain is increasingly unhappy over Theresa May’s super-soft Brexit blueprint.

Speaking at a business meeting in Frankfurt Wednesday, the German Chancellor told the country’s finance leaders not to be surprised if talks between Britain and Brussels break down ahead of a major meeting in Salzburg later this month.

“We don’t want the discussions to break down. We will use all our force and creativity to make sure a deal happens. We don’t want these negotiations to collapse. But we also can’t fully rule that out because we still have no result,” said Merkel, according to The Guardian.

According to reports last month, high-level British lobbying succeeded in keeping from the public an EU presentation containing “highly negative” analysis of May’s Chequers plan, which the Daily Telegraph said “would destroy British arguments” that Brussels should allow a post-Brexit UK some degree of so-called cherry-picking.

While the newspaper’s source for the story, which concerned fears in Brussels that Britain had “bugged” negotiations to gain an advantage, neglected to go into detail regarding what lobbying at the “highest level” might have entailed for Britain, the newspaper noted that the “politically explosive” slides remained unpublished while the Prime Minister and Germany’s Angela Merkel met at short notice to declare that Brexit talks were about to enter a “crucial phase”.

While Merkel, who was hailed as the new leader of a liberal, pro-open borders “free world” by a mainstream media horrified by U.S. voters electing Donald Trump, increasingly struggles to hold onto a mandate even in Germany — where Breitbart London recently reported support had sunk to its lowest point in 12 years — many globalist figures feel the Chancellor should hold even greater sway over politics in Europe.

The disgraced former Labour MP and UK minister, Denis MacShane, on Wednesday argued that Merkel should be “the first woman president” of the European Commission, asserting she has “the weight, the authority, the proven government record, international reputation and status, and more political experience and skills than all of today’s European politicians put together”.

Slamming patriotic leaders in eastern and central Europe as “illiberal clerical nationalists”, the convicted expenses cheat declared Merkel “the one German who could lead post-Brexit Europe and make presidents Trump, Putin and Xi sit up and realise the EU is now getting serious”.

The Chancellor’s warning comes as May’s concessions-laden EU withdrawal plan has been under increasing attack from both sides of the Brexit debate, with Leave-supporting Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg reporting this week he found himself “in greater agreement” with Brussels’ negotiator Michel Barnier than with the government over plans for Britain’s withdrawal.

“He and I found considerable agreement that Chequers is complete rubbish and we should chuck it and have a Canada-style free trade deal. It is very encouraging,” said the Eurosceptic MP.

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