German Chancellor will 'try until last hour' to prevent no-deal Brexit

German chancellor Angela Merkel says she will try "until the last hour" to prevent a no-deal Brexit and to ensure Britain does not crash out of the EU.

Speaking to the media following her meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Farmleigh, Dublin, she also pledged that Germany will stand with Ireland “every step of the way”.

With just days to go until the Brexit deadline and still with no deal agreed in Westminster, the two leaders discussed the implications of a no-deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House Dublin. Credit: Maxwell Photography/PA Wire.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House Dublin. Credit: Maxwell Photography/PA Wire.

Mr Varadkar said he appreciates Germany's solidarity and that the best deal still is the Withdrawal Agreement. But time is “running out”, he warned.

Asked about the difficulty of ensuring there is no hard border in Ireland in the event of a no-deal and the need to protect the EU's trading borders, Ms Merkel said this is something the EU “will have to be able to do” if Britain does crash out.

She pledged to work to prevent a no deal “until the last hour”.

Earlier, she met citizens, workers and businesses from the North and the border region who shared their situations and their own fears about the impact of a no deal.

The Dublin meeting came as attempts to resolve the Brexit impasse in Westminster continue.

British prime minister Theresa May is in talks with UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to try and find an agreement on how the Withdrawal Agreement can ensure the support of both parties.

It is thought that the option of a soft Brexit is being considered, where Britain would be aligned to the EU's customs union - an arrangement that would possibly not require any fresh border in Ireland.

Earlier, Tánaiste Simon Coveney reiterated that Ireland will not be pushed out of the custom's union by Britain if it crashes out of the EU.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the press conference in Farmleigh House Dublin. Picture: Maxwell Photgraphy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the press conference in Farmleigh House Dublin. Picture: Maxwell Photgraphy.

The Government maintains that - in the event of a no-deal - there can be no return to borders here and that the customs union must also be protected.

Ms Merkel also met with a special panel of citizens, workers and businesses who have experience of the border and The Troubles.

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