Angela Merkel doubles down on Brexit talks - future relationship cannot be discussed until after divorce

 
Mark Sands
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GERMANY-POLITICS-GOVERNMENT
Merkel will meet other EU leaders to discuss Brexit priorities (Source: Getty)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has again ruled out Brexit talks on the UK's future relationship with Europe taking place alongside divorce negotiations.

The UK has been pushing for talks to take place in parallel, in part because of the tight two-year timeframe offered by the Article 50 process.

But hitting out at "illusions" over the negotiations, Merkel today scotched those hopes.

Speaking in the German Bundestag, she repeatedly stressed that all remaining EU members were agreed that a divorce settlement must be reached first.

"We can only do an agreement on the future relationship with Britain when all questions about its exit have been cleared up satisfactorily," Merkel said.

EU leaders are due to meet tomorrow to agree priorities for the Brexit negotiations, and Merkel said one priority would be to protect the interests of EU citizens living in Britain, adding she was is ready to make "a fair offer" to Britons in Germany if it was reciprocal.‚Äč

Read More: It looks like the UK's starting to feel Brexit regret

The German Chancellor also warned against any belief that the UK could continue to enjoy the same EU market access rights after quitting Europe.

"A third state, and that's what Britain will be, cannot and will not have at its disposal the same rights ... as members of the European Union," Merkel said.

"I must say this clearly here because I get the feeling that some people in Britain still have illusions - that would be wasted time."

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