Angela Merkel has dealt an instant blow to Theresa May’s plan for Brexit by rejecting the PM’s plan for trade talks to take place at the same time as Article 50 secession negotiations.
Britain will be put into the slow lane for discussions about any future trade deal with the EU following an intervention by the German Chancellor, who intervened just hours after the UK invoked Article 50.
Ms May had called for talks on a future comprehensive trade deal between the EU and UK to take place at the same time as the so-called ‘Article 50’ talks on how Britain will exit the bloc.
Ms Merkel today however said that talks on British divorce terms would take place first, after which talks on a future relationship would “hopefully soon” take place. The intervention could potentially make the Brexit process significantly more arduous for the UK.
The German Chancellor told reporters in Berlin: “The negotiations must first clarify how we will disentangle our interlinked relationship… and only when this question is dealt with, can we, hopefully soon after, begin talking about our future relationship.”
In her letter triggering Article 50 Theresa May explicit said she believed it “is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the European Union”. She repeated the statement four times.