Merkel breaks ranks and urges EU climb down to secure Brexit deal 'Must profit both sides'
Angela Merkel called on European Union leaders to broker a Brexit compromise that "both sides can profit from", Daily Express reports.
The German Chancellor insisted the any future relationship deal with Britain cannot come at “any cost”. The influential leader is set to play an influential role in brokering any UK-EU trade agreement in the coming weeks with both sides still at a loggerheads over future fishing opportunities. She will be forced to push French President Emmanuel Macron to compromise on his hardline demands to secure continued access to Britain’s coastal waters after the end of the year.
Mrs Merkel said: “We will talk about the exit of Great Britain from the EU and confirm our common position.
“We want an agreement, but, of course, not at any cost. It has to be a fair agreement from which both sides can profit. But all the effort is worth it and we will, of course, support the negotiations of Michel Barnier, Ursula von der Leyen and the Commission.”
But France hit back, insisting it would need a "good agreement" for its fishermen before accepting a Brexit deal with Britain.
President Macron said: "I want to be very clear about Brexit. We know what subjects remain to be discussed and what subjects haven’t found a solution yet: fisheries. Our fishermen will not be the victims of Brexit. We didn’t make that choice. The British people did.
"So the access to British waters is a key issue in these negotiations. Protecting the access of our fishermen to British waters, finding a good agreement for our fishermen – and I'm talking about all European countries concerned including France – is an important point in this discussion, for us."
EU leaders will discuss Brexit for the first time in over 12 months at a crunch European Council summit in Brussels this afternoon.
The bloc has pulled plans for plans intensify the talks after the Prime Minister complained recent rounds had “lacked energy”.
A leaked document revealed Michel Barnier will be ordered to resist making progress until Britain makes significant concessions on fisheries and future state subsidies policy.