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Merkel sends positive signal to May on Brexit talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a markedly positive response on Friday to an EU summit appeal by Prime Minister Theresa May for help with Brexit.

Merkel said talks with Britain were moving forward and were unlikely to break down.

She made her comments at the end of the first day of the EU summit and after May had appealed to her fellow leaders to help her silence critics at home and break a deadlock in the talks.

“In contrast to how it is portrayed in the British press, my impression is that these talks are moving forward step by step,” Merkel told a late-night news conference.

She, however, dismissed as “absurd” suggestions in Britain that the talks should be broken off.

“I have absolutely no doubts that if we are all focused that we can get a good result.

“From my side there are no indications at all that we won’t succeed,” she said.

Arriving for the second day, others emphasised the positive too: Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called May’s speech her best performance yet and a warm, candid and sincere appeal.

Ireland’s Leo Varadkar said it was “very strong”.

But others complained they had heard little new of substance and rejected May’s repetition of London’s view that demands for money from Brussels have “no legal framework”.

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said “rhetorical progress” needed to be followed by “tangible conclusions”.

NAN


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