German chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will do everything she can to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking after Brexit talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar in Dublin, the chancellor said the European Union member states will stand together “until the very last hour”.
Ms Merkel made the comments at Farmleigh House in the capital on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking alongside Mr Varadkar, she said: “Every step of the way we will stand together, we will walk together.”
“We do hope that the intensive discussions that are ongoing in London will lead to a situation by next Wednesday, when we have a special council meeting, where Prime Minister Theresa May will have something to table to us on the basis of which we can continue to talk.
“We want to stand together as 27. Until the very last hour – I can say this from the German side – we will do everything in order to prevent a no-deal Brexit; Britain crashing out of the European Union.
“But we have to do this together with Britain and with their position that they will present to us.
“We will simply have to be able to do this. We have to be successful and we hope for a solution that we can agree together with Britain.
“I heard that you have the same saying as what we say in Germany: ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’.
“We are working on this and we have very good partners in the Commission, with Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker who are putting everything into finding a good ending, finding mutual solutions, so we will find this together.
“We still hope, obviously, for an orderly Brexit.”
Taoiseach Mr Varadkar said that any further extension to Article 50 must have a credible and realistic way forward.
I thought it would be important for the Chancellor to hear directly from people from Northern Ireland and the border region, people for whom the border is a very real issue & with direct experience of conflict before the Good Friday Agreement. pic.twitter.com/kSVoIhAUYs— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) April 4, 2019
“Matters continue to play out in London and I think we need to be patient and understanding of the predicament that they are in,” he added.
Mr Varadkar restated that the EU was “prepared to amend the Political Declaration” if the UK’s red lines shifted.
“Both Ireland and Germany want to have a future relationship with the UK which is close and comprehensive and as deep as possible, and we would like to see the Withdrawal Agreement ratified so that we can begin the negotiations on a new economic and security partnership without further delay,” he said.
But he added: “There is very little time left and we have to prepare ourselves for all outcomes.”
Earlier the two leaders took part in a round-table discussion with 15 people from Northern Ireland and the border area about the impact a no-deal scenario could have on their lives.
They heard from some victims of violence, as well as farmers and business people.
It comes as efforts intensify to find a way through the Brexit impasse.
Itâs a real privilege to welcome Chancellor Angela Merkel to Ireland today. Weâre meeting people from Ireland North and South to hear why we must avoid the return of any hard border and secure an orderly #Brexit pic.twitter.com/22HrwvUpIP— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) April 4, 2019
The UK Government and the Labour Party’s negotiating teams are locked in intensive talks in the hope of agreeing a position which could win a majority in the House of Commons in the coming days to allow Theresa May to request a short delay to Article 50.
Mr Varadkar held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday.
Discussing his meeting with Mr Macron, Mr Varadkar said he was “really heartened by the enormous support” that France continued to demonstrate towards Ireland, and by Mr Macron’s statement that Ireland would never be abandoned by France or by the EU.
“Whatever issues arise, if there is no deal, they are very much seen as shared problems, ones that Ireland will try to resolve with our partners in France and the European Commission,” he added.
“It’s not a questions of a big stick or us being put under undue pressure, but there are reasonable questions being asked as to how we will protect the integrity of the single market and the single union.”