BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will do all it can in the coming days to ensure that a deal is in place for when Britain leaves the European Union, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.
But Maas also stressed that, given the continued parliamentary deadlock in Britain over the terms of Brexit less than three months before its planned March 29 withdrawal, Germany would step up preparations for a disorderly Brexit.
British lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal by a large majority on Tuesday.
“In the coming days and weeks, we will do everything we can so that Britain exits with and not without an agreement,” Maas told the Bundestag (German lower house of parliament).
“We’re prepared for all scenarios - we are continuing to plan for a disorderly Brexit scenario and we will step up this planning - it’s about preventing any negative impact for citizens and our companies to the extent possible.”
Maas said Britain needed to say how it intended to proceed if it wanted to get an extension of the Article 50 exit negotiation period, and the EU would keep in mind the approaching European Parliament elections in May.
“If there was something positive in this process, it was the unity and solidarity of the 27 (remaining) EU members and we must maintain this unity after Brexit and now during this phase,” Maas said to applause from lawmakers.
The EU is prepared to look closely at any new suggestion from Britain on Monday but it is hard to imagine the withdrawal agreement with the EU being reworked, Maas said, adding that he urged Britain to show pragmatism.
Reporting by Michelle Martin and Paul Carrel; Editing by Mark Heinrich