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Germany and Brexit: October 2019

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reopened negotiations over the new withdrawal agreement, senior political figures from Germany stressed a commitment to finding a deal that works for both parties rather than risking a ‘no-deal Brexit’.


A puzzle reading 'Brexit'. Photo: Daniel Diaz via Pixabay

Germany has sought clarity over the UK’s position; a remain-heavy parliament stands at odds with a government seeking to secure Brexit. Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Economy Minister said, “At the moment, the most difficult thing is that we do not know who actually speaks for the country: the government or the elected parliament."

During negotiations, Germany was forthcoming in its commitment to creating a ‘level playing field’ – i.e. ensuring that Britain will not be at an unfair competitive advantage when it comes to business regulation and future trade.

Merkel, however, did warn that Britain would become Europe’s ‘economic rival’ once it leaves the EU, giving us a preview of future negotiations for a trade deal.

Merkel also hinted at Germany’s post-Brexit stance with regard to future EU budgets. Merkel demanded Germany retains its rebate as part of the next EU budget, saying Berlin faced an “excessive burden” as a result of Britain’s exit from the bloc.

As the government failed to pass the programme motion, leaving the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in ‘limbo’, Germany has been keen to stress its support of a Brexit extension.


A three month extension was granted on Monday 28th October 2019. The new deadline is 31st January 2020 by which point the UK may have had a general election.

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