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The UK is currently embroiled in protracted talks with the EU as both sides attempt to thrash out a favourable post-Brexit trade deal. As the two negotiating teams dispute what concessions should be made, many Brexiteers and MPs are hopeful Germany’s Angela Merkel would ensure the UK will receive a favourable deal – but this may no longer be the case.
A comment piece in regional German newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine claims such a view is a “misconception” and warns the country will not be the EU’s weak point.
Author Katrin Pribyl, the paper’s London correspondent, writes: “British Eurosceptics have high expectations of Germany of all countries…
“The Germans, so the myth that has persisted on the island for years, would end up making concessions to Great Britain out of self-interest and thus paving the way for a deal.”
But the journalist completely dismisses the idea and said: “Berlin as the EU’s Achilles heel?
“It is a misperception that carries risks and has so far mostly disappointed Brexit optimists.
“Neither the often cited German automaker jumped to the side of the British, nor did Chancellor Angela Merkel go against the 27 remaining EU countries.
“In London, hopes are based not only on Merkel’s call to act pragmatically in negotiations, but also on the belief that the German government is determined to prevent an economically disorderly exit due to the export-oriented German economy.”
The comment piece also warned that even though Germany has just taken on the rotating EU Council Presidency, Ms Merkel is unlikely to sway the talks in Britain’s favour.
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Ms Pribyl writes: “Merkel has always made it clear that her priority is rightly the integrity of the single market.
“There won’t be any extra wishes.
“But they still dream of them on the island today.”
A second German editorial also reached the same conclusion, and warned Ms Merkel was unlikely to prioritise the UK over the bloc – even if it was in Germany’s economic interests.
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Alexander Mühlauer writes in The Süddeutsche Zeitung: “One thing is certain: A deal with London is in Germany’s interest.
“If it does not succeed, Europe’s largest economy will feel it particularly strongly.
“But with all the hope that London is now putting into Merkel, one thing should be noted there: The unity of the European Union is more important for Germany than a deal that threatens to tear the community apart.”
Brexiteers have long argued that Germany is likely to intervene in the trade talks and ensure the UK receive a favourable deal.
This view was heightened as Germany took over the six-month rotating president of the Council of the EU at the beginning of July.
But the bulk of the negotiations will still be led by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
The Council presidency does play a key role in maintaining unity among the EU-27 however, so it is possible that Germany could propose compromises if the talks continue to fail.
Tory MP David Jones is hopeful Ms Merkel will be a pragmatist and ensure a favourable deal is reached.
He told Politico: “She recognises the reality of the UK’s departure and understands the mutual importance of Anglo-German trade.
“I would expect the German presidency to reflect Merkel’s pragmatism; it comes fortuitously in the final stages of the future relationship negotiations.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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