17 February, 2018
The German chancellor denied that she was...
Angela Merkel has delivered her most positive assessment so far of Britain's chances of securing a good trade deal with the rest of the EU.
Speaking in a joint press conference with Theresa May in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said that a bespoke deal did not have to mean Britain that was "cherry-picking" the best elements of the single market without paying the price for European Union membership.
Neither "rigid institutional restrictions" nor a "deep-seated ideology" should come before protecting the public, she will say, insisting that Britain and Europe's common enemies "would like nothing more than to see us fractured".
Brussels and London have to start next month negotiations on the conditions of the transition period that the European Union expects to continue until December 31, 2020.
"I am curious how Great Britain imagines our relationship to be", said Merkel at a joint press conference with May in Berlin, a nod to rumours that she had made fun of the British PM's circular negotiation tactics at a Davos reception last month.
Mrs Merkel also dismissed suggestions both she and Brussels are growing fed up with a delay in the United Kingdom setting out its plans for the next phase of Brexit talks, on the future economic relationship, as the Prime Minister battles to win an agreed position among her Cabinet ministers.
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But standing next to Mrs May, the German leader said: "I'm not frustrated at all".
During an exchange with journalists Ms Merkel said the German position on Brexit had not changed, adding: "We deplore it".
Appearing alongside her German host, the Prime Minister spoke of her wish for a "bold and ambitious partnership", but stressed it was bit a "one-way street" as such an outcome would also benefit the bloc.
"Both of these options set out that we will not be in a customs union, allowing us to make our own trade deals across the world but while still ensuring trade with the EU is as frictionless as possible".
As part of her trip to Germany, the Prime Minister will outline her wishes for a future security EU-UK partnership in a speech at a security conference in Munich on Saturday.
On Tuesday, the Belgian capital will host the talks at technical and coordinators' level on the issue of border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit, the department added.
But she will warn: "This can not be a time when any of us allow competition between partners, rigid institutional restrictions or deep-seated ideology to inhibit our cooperation and jeopardise the security of our citizens".
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