Europe’s Most Powerful Leader Is Trying To Hit The Brakes On Brexit


German Chancellor Merkel gestures as she gives a speech at German sustainable development congress in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she sees no reason to speed up Britain’s departure from the European Union. Her comments are a departure from comments made yesterday by six EU foreign ministers, including Germany’s own foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

“Quite honestly, it should not take ages, that is true, but I would not fight now for a short time frame,” Merkel told a news conference, according to Reuters. “The negotiations must take place in a businesslike, good climate. Britain will remain a close partner, with which we are linked economically.”

Steinmeier said on Saturday that the EU wanted Britain to trigger article 50 as soon as possible “so we don’t end up in an extended limbo period”.

The process may take longer than the EU ministers would like, however, as David Cameron is set to step aside as Prime Minister, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sacked members of his shadow government and may be voted out himself, and more than 3 million Brits signed a petition calling for a second EU referendum over the weekend.

New doubts have been cast over the integrity of politicians who supported leaving the EU as Nigel Farage, leader of the far right-wing party UKIP, promised that the money the UK currently pledges to the EU would go to the National Health Services. The day after the Britain voted to leave the EU, however, Farage said — on live television — that his claim had been ‘a mistake.’

“No I can’t [make that claim], and I would have never made that claim,” Farage said, shortly before video was found of him making that exact claim. “It was one of the mistakes I think the ‘leave’ campaign made.”


Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress