German Chancellor Angela Merkel told European Union (EU) members that a Brexit trade deal with Britain is “in the interest of all,” but added that they must be prepared in case an agreement is not reached.
Merkel made the comment Tuesday as she addressed a meeting of the EU committee of regions via video link. She said negotiations with Britain continue and the EU will try to reach an agreement with Britain, but so little time remains. Britain set a deadline of the end of this year for a trade agreement to be in place.
Earlier Tuesday, Germany, which currently holds the revolving EU presidency, demanded "substantive" movement from Britain on fisheries, dispute settlement and fair competition guarantees, the key sticking points in the post-Brexit trade talks between the two sides.
Germany’s chief EU negotiator, Michael Roth, said Tuesday the talks were "at a very critical stage" and that the “no deal scenario” is the worst for both sides.
Britain, the world's sixth-biggest economy, in January became the first country to leave the EU. It has since been locked in painstaking talks with the world's largest trading bloc to keep trade flowing freely despite Brexit.
In her remarks, Merkel also said the COVID-19 pandemic has taught EU members that they need each other. She said earlier in the pandemic too many nations worried only about themselves.
She made the comments as the continent is seeing an apparent “second wave” of cases surging in most European countries.