“Germany is ready for a likely no-deal Brexit and will encourage its fellow EU member states to hold their nerve and refuse to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, according to a leaked German government paper.
The document prepared by officials for the German finance minister, Olaf Scholz, before talks in Berlin with the chancellor of the exchequer, Sajid Javid, suggests that the UK’s threats to leave without a deal are falling flat.
Boris Johnson, who is expected to visit Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday and Angela Merkel on Wednesday, has insisted it is vital for the UK to appear ready to crash out if it is to secure a new and better deal without the Irish backstop.”
“After his meeting with Scholz on Friday, Javid tweeted: “Enjoyed meeting in Berlin today. The UK will definitely be leaving the EU on Oct 31st – it is in our mutual interest to do so with a Deal, but we will be ready to leave with No Deal.”
But the paper prepared for Scholz makes clear that while the German government does now believe that the British government will carry out its threat, the EU still has no intention of returning to the negotiating table on Johnson’s terms.
The document, leaked to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, warns of a “high probability” of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October given Johnson’s “tough negotiating position” but adds that the EU’s preparations are “largely complete”.
The paper says it is “currently unforeseeable that Prime Minister Johnson will change his tough negotiating position”. The EU is predicting a “big moment” from Johnson at the forthcoming G7 summit in Biarritz as he seeks to pile the pressure on the bloc’s leaders.
“Against this background, it is important from the EU perspective to stick to the previous line” of refusing to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, the paper says. It adds that “the EU-27’s unity in adhering to the negotiated exit agreement” is vital.”