Angela Merkel admits EU is 'unsettled' by Brexit trade talks deadlock

Angela Merkel admits EU is ‘unsettled’ by deadlock in Brexit trade talks as bloc snipes at UK for ‘running down the clock’ and William Hague urges Boris Johnson to personally intervene to secure a breakthrough

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hopes talks will have ‘happy ending’
  • But Ms Merkel said that Brussels does not need trade agreement ‘at any price’ 
  • She admitted some EU member states have been ‘unsettled’ by the deadlock
  • Meanwhile, Lord Hague urged Boris Johnson to personally intervene in talks 

Angela Merkel has admitted EU member states are ‘unsettled’ over the continuing deadlock in post-Brexit trade negotiations with the UK. 

The German Chancellor said she hopes the talks will result in a ‘happy ending’ with a deal agreed and implemented before the end of the ‘standstill’ transition period next month. 

She said a failure to strike an accord would set a bad example to the rest of the world but warned the bloc does not ‘need an agreement at any price’. 

It came as Lord Hague, the Tory former foreign secretary, urged Boris Johnson to personally intervene in the discussions to secure a breakthrough. 

He said both sides seem to be waiting for the other to blink and a ‘happy outcome will require something additional’ in the form of top level talks between political leaders.  

He warned it would be a ‘failure of statesmanship’ if politicians do not take charge of the talks to get a deal over the line.  

Meanwhile, EU figures have warned the UK against trying to run down the clock in the negotiations in the hope of securing last minute concessions.

They said that while that may have worked for Britain in previous Brexit negotiations it will not work this time around. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hopes post-Brexit trade talks will come to a ‘happy ending’ but warned the EU does not need an agreement ‘at any price’ 

Lord Hague has urged Boris Johnson to personally intervene in the talks in order to secure a breakthrough

Face-to-face talks are continuing in London this week as the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his UK counterpart, Lord Frost, try to hammer out an accord. 

But the two sides remain split on three key issues: Post-Brexit fishing rights, the so-called ‘level-playing field’ on rules and the future governance of the deal.  

A failure to strike an agreement will see Britain and Brussels forced to trade on basic World Trade Organisation terms from January 1 which would see tariffs imposed on goods. 

Michael Gove, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said this morning that talks are ‘getting close to the wire’ and ‘it takes two to tango’.     

Mrs Merkel yesterday told MEPs that a deal is in the interests of both parties but warned ‘there’s not much time left’. 

She said: ‘We hope that these talks will come to a happy ending. We don’t need an agreement at any price. 

‘We want one but otherwise we’ll take measures that are necessary. In any case a deal is in the interest of all.

‘Some member states are now becoming unsettled. There’s not much time left.’

She added: ‘I hope that we will still come to a contractual solution.

‘We, Britain and the member states of the European Union, are countries that are based on the same values, and it would not be a good example for the world if we didn’t in the end manage to craft an agreement.’

Mrs Merkel’s comments came as Lord Hague urged Mr Johnson to personally take charge of the negotiations to secure a deal. 

Writing in The Telegraph, he said: ‘It seems more likely that such a happy outcome will require something additional, in the form of talks at the highest level between Boris Johnson and EU leaders, and that some fresh decisions will be required to make a deal attainable. 

Lord Hague said it would be a ‘failure of statesmanship’ if political leaders do not take charge of the talks 

‘Otherwise, it is still possible that January 1 will come round with no framework for cooperation and trade in place at all.’ 

Lord Hague said that while both sides ‘genuinely want a deal, they each believe the other side needs one so much that they will offer the crucial concessions at the last minute’. 

He added: ‘For national leaders not to assert themselves and force a solution later this week – if none is forthcoming from the talks – would be a failure of statesmanship.’

Meanwhile, EU figures have warned Downing Street that running down the clock will not lead to Brussels caving in. 

France’s European affairs minister, Clément Beaune, said: ‘We have a bit of time left but still a long way to go and if the UK believes that time left works in its favour as it has in the past few years, that is not the case.’

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