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Merkel reiterates will to fight for orderly Brexit "until the last hour"

(Xinhua)    07:32, March 22, 2019

BERLIN, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Ahead of the European summit starting on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her will to fight for an orderly Brexit "until the last day, until the last hour".

"One can certainly talk positively about a short extension" for Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, said Merkel during a speech at the German parliament.

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May had called upon the European Union to postpone the date of Britain's withdrawal until June 30.

According to Merkel, the governmental leaders of the European members would probably comply in principle with Britain's request for a postponement. However, Merkel stressed that "the legitimacy of the European elections in May" must be preserved.

Merkel also stated that a condition for a postponement was that there would be a positive vote on the withdrawal treaty in the British parliament as negotiated with the EU. If there would be no agreement in the parliament in London for the withdrawal treaty "then we will keep it open whether there should be another meeting before the resignation date", Merkel said.

A major issue would be the problems surrounding the so-called backstop. It is still unclear how the border regulations between Northern Ireland which belongs to Britain, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, are to be designed. Merkel stressed that the EU had made sufficient concessions on this controversial issue.

Meanwhile, she pointed out that Germany, as well as the other EU members, had been preparing for an unorderly Brexit with regards to issues like the rights of British citizens living in Germany.

Relations with Britain could not be as after Britain left the EU, Merkel said. However, "the door is wide open to cooperation in friendship and mutual benefit from our side," she said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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