March 13, 2019 / 12:53 PM / 6 months ago

Merkel: Brexit options narrower, goal remains an orderly Brexit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday the options for Brexit had become more limited after British lawmakers rejected a divorce deal agreed between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU but the goal was still an orderly withdrawal.

A second humiliating defeat for May on her Brexit plan leaves the future unclear 16 days before Britain is due to leave with scenarios ranging from leaving with no deal, to delaying Brexit, holding a second referendum and a snap election.

“We have not given up the goal of an orderly exit (for Britain) but yesterday’s events mean the options have become narrower,” she said, adding she regretted Tuesday’s result.

Merkel said she would be able to say how things might proceed only after the next votes in the British parliament.

“Only after these can we, the EU27, look on a profound basis on how we go forward,” she said when asked about her view on a possible delay in Brexit.

Later on Wednesday, British lawmakers vote on whether to leave the EU without an agreement and on Thursday they are expected to vote on whether to seek a delay from the EU. All the bloc’s other 27 members must agree to that.

Merkel made clear that the onus was on Britain to find a solution, saying the EU27 alone could not force a way out of the impasse.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Michelle Martin

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