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Merkel says EU will not let Ireland down over Brexit

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The European Union wants a Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom and will not let Ireland down, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.

“We want an agreement: from the Irish point of view in particular it is extremely important,” Merkel said during a debate on the German presidency of the European Union at EU’s the Committee of the Regions.

“We won’t let Ireland down but will continue to stick together in these exit negotiations,” she added.

“But we have to bear in mind the realities because an agreement has to be in the interests of both sides, in the British interest and in the interest of the EU’s 27 member states.”

Meanwhile, European Union leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss Brexit will say that progress in talks with Britain is “still not sufficient” to seal a new trade deal, according to a draft summit decision seen by Reuters.

The 27 national leaders are due to tell their negotiator, Michel Barnier, to intensify talks with Britain to reach and implement an agreement from Jan. 1, 2021, but will also decide to step up contingency preparations for an abrupt economic split without a deal to avoid tariffs or quotas.

They will also tell Britain it must implement in full its earlier Brexit divorce treaty with the bloc, according to the draft summit decision prepared in advance of the meeting. 

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