October 15, 2019 / 9:04 AM / a month ago

EU will negotiate to the last to square the Brexit circle: Merkel

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference after meeting with chairmen of international economic and financial organisations at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union will negotiate to the end to get an orderly Brexit, but the task is complicated by the difficulty of reconciling the Good Friday Agreement with Britain’s desire to leave the customs union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

“It is something like squaring the circle what we are trying to negotiate,” she said, since the two-decade-old peace deal said there should be no borders on the island of Ireland. “We will work on an ordered Brexit to the last minute.”

Addressing a trade group of German manufacturers on Tuesday, Merkel also warned that on its departure, Britain was likely to emerge as a competitor to the EU, posing a challenge to which the EU would have to rise.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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