She and the Taoiseach, or Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar hope that the discussions in London will soon lead to a position in which further steps can be discussed at the special meeting of the European Council, said Angela Merkel. "The 27 stand together."
The UK government is currently engaged in talks with the opposition, in an effort to identify a way in which the UK can leave the EU with a deal. Next Wednesday the heads of state and government of the EU member states will meet in Brussels. Prime Minister Theresa May will present a proposal for further action. As things stand, the United Kingdom will leave the EU on 12 April.
Solidarity with Ireland
Angela Merkel pointed to Ireland’s unique situation. There can be no doubt that it will be particularly badly affected by the UK’s withdrawal. The Good Friday Agreement absolutely must be upheld, and the integrity of the Single Market guaranteed, she declared.
Angela Merkel and Leo Varadkar earlier met with people living in the border area between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which is an EU member state. There are fears that in the case of a no-deal Brexit border controls will have to be reintroduced, and that violence could return to the area. "I know what it means when walls fall, and borders vanish," said the Chancellor. She had been very moved by the discussion, she said, which will spur her on to seek new ways of making continued peaceful coexistence possible.
Good relations with the United Kingdom
Angela Merkel again stressed her support for the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the EU and the UK government, which has not so far been approved by the House of Commons. The transitional period laid out in the agreement is a precondition for laying out the future relationship between the UK and the EU in peace.
"On the German side, and here we are in full agreement with Ireland, we want good, intensive relations," she stressed. Angela Merkel pointed to the many things the two sides have in common: apart from economic relations, cooperation in the security sector and foreign policy issues.