A Brexit deal should strike a balance to ensure Britain clearly diverges from the European Union’s single market but keeps close economic ties with the bloc, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after meeting British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday.
Merkel struck an upbeat tone after the talks, which she described as “a very constructive, friendly meeting”. Both leaders said they wanted close economic ties after Brexit.
Britain is hoping to negotiate a Brexit trade deal with the EU that maintains high levels of access to the bloc’s single market. The EU says Britain will lose access if it sticks to its plan to end the free movement of workers from the bloc and no longer follow judgments of the European Court of Justice.
“In the end, there needs to be a fair balance of divergence, from the single market for example, and on the other hand a partnership that is not too close,” Merkel told a joint news conference with May.
“This can be achieved and the (EU)27 will ensure that the relationship is as close as possible but that there is a difference to (EU) membership,” she added.
May said she wanted a Brexit deal that was good for companies in Britain and the rest of the European Union.
“I want to ensure that UK companies have the maximum freedom to trade and operate within German markets, and for German businesses to do the same in the UK,” she told the news conference in Berlin.
Merkel said she was not frustrated with the Brexit negotiations but that they needed to progress.
“We want to adhere to the timetable, that means we are under time pressure,” she said. “But we also want to do things thoroughly and that means we must have regular exchanges.”