ENTERTAINMENT

"The message is that it is not a deal": supermarkets should start stocking up before the Brexit deadline


The Brexit talks will last until hour 11 after Boris Johnson stepped down today on the verge of a no-deal exit.

The Prime Minister announced that stalled free trade talks would resume after holding talks with European Commission President Ursula Von de Leyen this morning.

Mr Johnson had suggested that today was a difficult deadline for both sides to either reach a final settlement after months of fighting or prepare for a tough UK departure on December 31st.

In a joint statement, they said, “We had a useful phone call this morning. We discussed the main unresolved issues.

& # 39; Our negotiation teams have been working day and night for the past few days.

& # 39; And despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines were repeatedly missed, we hold it responsible at this point to go the extra mile.

"We have accordingly instructed our negotiators to continue the talks and examine whether an agreement can also be reached at this late stage."

It came when UK supermarkets were instructed to stock up on essential groceries and other necessities in less than three weeks before a possible no-deal Brexit.

There were large queues in Kent outside Dover yesterday after similar traffic jams occurred in Calais on Friday as retailers and suppliers began building stocks amid increasing gloom over the chances of a trade deal with Brussels.

At the beginning of 2021, there have been fears for months that vegetables – most of which come from EU countries – could be missing for months if the negotiators involved in the last talks today fail to close a loophole in terms of fishing rights and trade rules .

Trucks queued on the A20 yesterday to go to Dover port and board ferries to Europe as supermarkets started storing groceries and other necessities

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab suggested earlier this morning that the EU's intransigence was due to Brussels being "concerned that Britain might do reasonably well" after leaving.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab suggested earlier this morning that the EU's intransigence was due to Brussels being "concerned that Britain might do reasonably well" after leaving.

The Prime Minister announced that stalled free trade talks would resume after holding talks with European Commission President Ursula Von de Leyen this morning

The Prime Minister announced that stalled free trade talks would resume after holding talks with European Commission President Ursula Von de Leyen this morning

Ministers are keen to avoid scenes like the March where people panicked buying toilet paper and other goods prior to the Covid arrest

Ministers are keen to avoid scenes like the March where people panicked buying toilet paper and other goods prior to the Covid arrest

British negotiator David Frost (left) and British Ambassador to the European Union Tim Barrow (right) arrive at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels this morning

British negotiator David Frost (left) and British Ambassador to the European Union Tim Barrow (right) arrive at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels this morning

Boris Johnson has taken personal control of Britain's no-deal preparations as the deadline for historic talks with the EU expires today

The move comes from the fact that government sources estimate the likelihood of failure of the negotiations at up to 80 percent and Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured) is held responsible for the tough line taken by the European Union

Boris Johnson (left) has taken personal control of Britain's no-deal preparations as the deadline for historic talks with the EU expires today. The move comes from the fact that government sources estimate the likelihood of failure of the negotiations at up to 80 percent and Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) is held responsible for the tough line taken by the European Union

Dominic Raab warns France that without a Brexit deal, its trawlers will not have access to British fish

France has been told its fishing boats will not have access to UK waters if there is a no-deal Brexit today – as a senior minister, UK prepared to enforce our waters.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab fired a warning shot on Paris after it became known that four Royal Navy gunboats were on standby to stop EU trawlers from Jan. 1 should trade talks collapse.

Monitoring of military helicopters is also reportedly being made available, and ministers are considering strengthening the Navy's powers in legislation to authorize them to board ships and arrest fishermen who violate the rules after Brexit.

The reports sparked a furious argument within the Conservative Party, and Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defense Committee, called it "irresponsible".

Fishing rights in UK waters are one of the last remaining sticking points in the free trade talks poised to collapse.

The government is refusing to bow to France-cited "outlandish" demands for EU vessels to be allowed to withdraw a large quota of fish from UK waters after the UK departed on December 1.

But on Ridge this Sunday, Mr Raab said: “The bottom line is that we will be an independent coastal state if we leave on WTO terms. Of course we will enforce our waters around fishing and whatever.

"And of course for the French and others that means – you know, forget the fancy terms they asked us to say – their fishing industry has no guaranteed access."

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab had already indicated today that today's tough deadline could be softer.

He said you never say never and stressed that negotiations with Brussels tend to drag and drift.

He said it was "a long way" to find a solution to the two outstanding issues of fisheries and the so-called "ratchet" level playing field clause that would bind the UK to future EU standards.

The former Brexit secretary added that if Mr Johnson and the top official in Europe were able to break the impasse during their conversation, discussions could continue last Sunday.

The Cabinet Secretary told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: “The bar is pretty high for us to keep talking.

“We need a commitment at a political level to address these two key issues.

“If you look at what I said at the beginning of the week, it's pretty similar to what I'm saying now, which is never never said because EU negotiations can often drag and drift.

“But we really need finality, and that is why we need clarity at the political level from Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, that the EU will act on these two key issues. If we get that, there will be more talks to be held. & # 39;

But Labor struck late in the argument with a party spokesman: “The Conservatives promised the British people that they had an oven-ready deal and that they would get Brexit done. The government must keep that promise, give us the deal and allow us to move on as a country. & # 39;

Ministers have drawn up plans for a £ 10 billion rescue package for sectors of the economy that, in the worst case, will be hard hit. These include farmers and food producers, chemical suppliers, the auto industry and fishing fleets, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

A supermarket industry source told the Sunday Times: “There was a conversation a week ago when ministers said they were preparing for No Deal. This weekend the message is that it is not a deal.

“Supermarkets and ministers are very concerned about panic buying. They saw what was happening about Covid when people started hoarding toilet paper and knew how quickly it can go wrong.

& # 39; That will be nothing compared to what is about to happen. Meat supplies will be fine and fruit will be from South America, but there will likely be a shortage of vegetables for three months. & # 39;

Last night, Mr Johnson took personal control of UK no-deal preparations as the deadline approaches.

Taoiseach: No Brexit deal would be a "terrible failure of statecraft".

Irish head of state Michael Martin warned that it would be "a terrible failure of statecraft" if Britain and the EU could not reach a Brexit deal.

The dialogue should continue as long as there is a possibility of a post-Brexit trade deal, said the Irish Taoiseach.

Creating a level playing field for trade and access to fishing waters are the main outstanding issues.

Micheal Martin said 97 percent of the issues had already been agreed between the UK and the EU.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, "I think it would be a horrific failure of statecraft if we weren't able to get a deal across the line."

He added: "It is important that we do not have a sharp division because that would be very harmful."

Mr Martin said he hoped that post-transition talks on an agreement would continue beyond Sunday if a breakthrough was not achieved.

"Where the dialogue continues gives me hope," he said.

Ireland has argued that in reality the UK is unlikely to deviate significantly from EU standards in many areas and Mr Martin reiterated that the UK was a First World country.

He said access to the European market is important for the UK.

"A settlement mechanism to resolve future disputes is one that both sides can join with a little creativity," he said.

Ninety-seven percent of that deal has been negotiated.

“The remaining 3 percent shouldn't exceed the ability of both sides to build a bridge.

"That is why it is so important that the dialogue continues."

The move came when government sources put the likelihood of failure of the negotiations at 80 percent and Chancellor Angela Merkel was blamed for the tough line taken by the European Union.

A source said she was "determined to let Britain crawl over broken glass" rather than reaching a compromise.

His Whitehall intervention aims to protect vital supplies of food and medicine after January 1st. He will chair a new “super committee”, which is running alongside the existing no-deal preparatory group chaired by Michael Gove.

Helen Dickinson, General Manager of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The 11th hour has passed and every moment of uncertainty is making it difficult for companies to prepare effectively for January 1st.

"Without an agreement, the UK public will face over £ 3 billion in food tariffs and retailers would have no choice but to pass some of these additional costs on to their customers, who would see higher prices later in 2021 . " The bureaucratic hassle from January 1st will place an additional burden on retailers and their customers.

“The retailers are doing everything they can to prepare for any January 1st eventuality. You are increasing the inventory of cans, toilet rolls and other products with longer lifespans so that enough essential products are available.

'They also built new customs and VAT processes, worked with suppliers to simplify logistics, and more.

“While no amount of preparation by retailers can completely prevent disruption, the public does not need to buy more food than usual as the main impact is on imported fresh produce such as fresh fruits and vegetables that cannot be stored for long periods either by retailers or Consumers.

"Both sides must double up and do what is necessary to get a zero-tariff deal, or the public will pay the price for this failure."

Mr Raab suggested this morning that the EU's intransigence was driven by Brussels fears about the UK's future success.

"He told Sky & # 39; s Ridge on Sunday," I think the EU is concerned that the UK might actually do pretty well after leaving the EU and is concerned about competitive advantage, even with the usual global rules. "

Regarding the reports on the stockpiling, he told Times Radio: “We have a diverse supply. Fifty percent of British food comes from the UK. For example, concerns were expressed about the impact on prices and tariffs; In fact, the increase is only about two percent, which is made up of potential tariff increases.

"It's much more likely things like the cost of fuel and transportation are affected, but the bottom line is we won't see bare shelves or any of the terrifying stories we've heard."

The Foreign Minister said the UK had worked "very hard" on a technical level during the recent negotiations in Brussels, but argued that there had to be a political "readiness" to reach a Brexit trade deal.

“First of all, as expected, I am making the case that we would have a free trade agreement if the EU had honored its commitments. It should be doable, ”he said.

Mr. Raab added that the government "wants to get a deal if it is at all possible".

When asked if the talks could continue into the new year if no agreement was reached, the foreign minister said he would not speculate on hypotheses, adding: "But the reality is for the EU, its pressure point is now." After Jan 1st, the idea that they will somehow win concessions later that they can't win now is for the birds in my opinion. & # 39;

He later claimed The EU has "moved the goalposts".

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: “We talked about it right from the start – the EU has moved the goal posts.

“We were told that a Canadian style agreement was available. You only said it in your own words. You told me that the EU is not ready now to offer that to us.

So let us be very clear that if we are forced into this position, it is because the EU was unwilling to treat us as any other independent third country would expect to be treated, and indeed, like the EU would expect to be treated. & # 39;

Mr Raab continued: “Well, I think it is absurd that the EU has chosen its approach, which means that German car manufacturers, French fishermen and women, the French farmers, would suffer.

& # 39; And the win-win of common sense in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement is still ongoing. And it is not Britain that has failed to show flexibility and pragmatism – in the context of Northern Ireland, the Joint Committee, we have solved all these problems. & # 39;

The talks could theoretically continue until Christmas Day, with the Commons even sitting on Boxing Day to put a deal in the code.

However, Mr Johnson firmly believes that the UK will not return to the negotiating table after December 31, when the Brexit transition period expires.

Mr Johnson was exposed to the anger of the Tory grandees last night. Former Minister Lord Heseltine wrote in the Observer: “This government will and should be held responsible for the worst peace decision of modern times. I personally know members of the Cabinet who believe this as firmly as I do. I can't understand their silence. & # 39;

“Christmas is just around the corner and before the country goes back to work we will be alone. Sovereign, responsible, regained control. None of this creates a single job, a pound investment, or a rise in living standards. We will have risked our trading relationship with the largest market in the world, which accounts for nearly half of our imports and exports. & # 39;

Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez said a no-deal outcome of the post-Brexit trade talks should be avoided "at all costs".

She told Sky News & # 39; Sophy Ridge on Sunday: & # 39; In the current circumstances, a no-deal would be extremely negative for our economies.

“And if you stick to what economists say, and there is a lot of literature on it, Britain would suffer even more than the European Union.

"We'll both suffer more on the British side, which I think we should definitely avoid."

Talks continued until this morning, but a government source said: “From today's perspective, the EU offer on the table remains unacceptable. The Prime Minister will leave no stone unturned in this process, but he is absolutely clear: any deal must be fair and respect the fundamental position that Britain will be a sovereign nation in three weeks' time. If they want a deal, it has to be now. & # 39;

Talks were paralyzed by disputes over fishing rights and the so-called “ratchet” for a level playing field that would bind the UK to future EU standards.

It is believed that any remaining hopes for a last-minute breakthrough will depend on discussions of a new body that could resolve future disputes between London and Brussels over trade laws and tariffs.

British negotiators believe that a conflict between the personalities has exacerbated the problem because the "Lutheran" Ms. Merkel does not trust the "libertine" Mr. Johnson.

A minister involved in the negotiations said Mr Johnson was "strong and determined" but alleged that Chancellor Rishi Sunak was "wobbling" and in "sell-out" camp over the economic costs of No Deal.

As part of the No Deal contingency plans released yesterday evening:

  • More than 3,000 trucks are mobilized each week to bring essential medicines and medical equipment to the UK.
  • By March, a total of 1,100 additional customs and immigration officers will be at the border, while 20 telephone helplines will advise companies.
  • Whitehall will "get" his no-deal preparations in Operation Capstone within a few days to simulate the worst-case scenarios.
  • An official "playbook" was created to map "any foreseeable no-deal scenario" with "ministerial approved procedures".
  • Live exercises were carried out to bring fresh produce, fish and even day-old chicks from the EU to the UK.
  • A bespoke phone app for hauliers keeps the trucks moving by directing drivers to the closest of seven new inland border checkpoints. A “Handbook for Freight Forwarders” on the changes has been translated into 13 languages.
  • A border operations center is staffed by experts around the clock to limit delays.
  • A fish export service issues validated catch certificates and technical support for the industry.
UK chief negotiator Lord Frost left European Union headquarters in Brussels after meeting his EU counterpart Michel Barnier on Saturday about a dingy underground car park (pictured)

UK chief negotiator Lord Frost left European Union headquarters in Brussels after meeting his EU counterpart Michel Barnier on Saturday about a dingy underground car park (pictured)

Labor's Ed Miliband accused Boris Johnson of "playing Russian roulette" by threatening a no-deal Brexit.

Shadow's business secretary told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: & # 39; (Boris Johnson) was a gentleman. This is a man unconcerned with our national interest, and frankly Andrew, he plays Russian roulette on the jobs and livelihoods of people across the country.

"How dare he say that when we know the impact (of a no-deal) on our farmers, it will be a wonderful result."

Mr. Miliband continued, “I think it's ideological Andrew that, I think people need to understand. This is about the vision of the country we have in the future.

“Do we want a country with high environmental standards, high standards for workers' rights, or do we want a country where we run down and try to liberalize our path to economic success?

"It's about the vision of Britain, it comes down to what vision you have of the country and I say we're not liberalizing our path to economic success."

The UK's chief negotiator, Lord Frost, left the European Union headquarters in Brussels via an underground car park yesterday after meeting with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier.

The Prime Minister is being asked by the Tory donors not to agree to an EU-backed extension of the talks. A number of great benefactors are signaling that they would be happy with No Deal.

A source said: “The worst thing in the world would be an expansion. Most donors would refuse. People just want to get out. They think we voted to leave the EU and Boris got his 80-seat majority because he left the EU. & # 39;

Internal party polls have shown that 75 percent of Tory members refuse to extend the talks.

The so-called XO committee for preparations for the end of the Brexit transition period, chaired by Mr Gove, has met more than 200 times. With only three weeks to go before the end of the reporting period, the larger “Super XO” committee chaired by Mr. Johnson will now complete the planning.

The Prime Minister was criticized from his own banks last night after announcing that four Royal Navy ships would be deployed to protect British waters if a trade deal cannot be negotiated.

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defense Committee, described the threat as "irresponsible" and former Conservative Party leader Lord Patten accused Mr Johnson of being on a "runaway train of the English state of emergency" .

However, Admiral Lord West, a former chief of naval staff, said it was "perfectly appropriate for the Navy to do what the government says".

The Defense Department said it would be prepared for a number of scenarios after December 31.

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood (pictured), chairman of the Commons Defense Committee, described the threat as "irresponsible" and former Conservative Party leader Lord Patten accused Mr Johnson of being on a "runaway train of the English state of emergency." " to be.

Admiral Lord West (pictured), a former chief of naval staff, said it was "perfectly appropriate for the Navy to do what the government says".

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood (left), chairman of the Commons Defense Committee, described the threat as "irresponsible" and former Conservative Party leader Lord Patten accused Mr Johnson of being on a "runaway train of the English state of emergency" "to be located. But Admiral Lord West (pictured), a former chief of naval staff, said it was "perfectly appropriate for the Navy to do what the government says".

Access to British waters was a key issue in the negotiations. French President Emmanuel Macron said he was unwilling to "give up my share of the cake".

The government signed a £ 86.6 million contract with four ferry companies last year, which will allow up to 3,000 trucks carrying medicines and medical equipment to travel 13 routes into the UK every week.

A source in Whitehall said: “With this new information and investment at the border, we will keep goods and people moving smoothly and our country will become safer and safer.

“Now that the flow of critical goods such as vaccines and essential medicines has been secured by increasing freight capacities, nobody has to worry about our food, medicines or vital supply chains. We will continue to work tirelessly to make sure everyone is ready.

As with any major change, deal or no deal, there are challenges and bumps to overcome. However, we have laid the foundations to minimize the disruptions that occur in both scenarios. & # 39;

Like & # 39; Mrs No & # 39; blocked a Brexit deal: top British officials blame Angela Merkel's & # 39; Lutheran & # 39; Aversion to & # 39; libertine & # 39; Boris Johnson

By Glen Owen Political Editor for the Sunday Post

In the words of one negotiator, it is Lutherans' “aversion to libertine” that has brought Britain to the brink of a no-deal Brexit.

Diplomats say the "trust problem" between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson came to a head during last week's intense talks when British negotiators tried to break the impasse by proposing an agreement on "tariffs for freedom".

According to the plan, which would have been concretized at the meeting between Mr Johnson and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, over a scallops and turbot dinner on Wednesday, the UK would have effectively been relieved of the responsibility to enforce EU rules obey to accept tariffs would be pounded on UK exports.

Although most of the world's attention has focused on the louder objections of French President Emmanuel Macron, it was Ms. Merkel – the morally Puritan daughter of a Lutheran clergyman – who played the quietest influential role in the EU's blanket rejection of the idea.

A source close to the UK negotiating team said: “We thought this was the time. But they just weren't interested. They will not accept that Brexit means making our own rules.

“We could put in place all kinds of systems to detect disputes to ensure that the new plan is fair, but the root of the problem seems to be Merkel herself: she doesn't trust Boris. They are very different people. & # 39;

Ms. Merkel has teamed up with Mr. Macron to obstruct British negotiations with Ms. von der Leyen. The two heads of state and government have refused to enter into direct negotiations with Mr. Johnson.

Although most of the world's attention has been focused on the louder objections of French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured on Saturday), it was Ms. Merkel - the morally puritan daughter of a Lutheran clergyman - who played the quietest influential role in the blanket dismissal of the EU played idea

Although most of the world's attention has been focused on the louder objections of French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured on Saturday), it was Ms. Merkel – the morally puritan daughter of a Lutheran clergyman – who played the quietest influential role in the blanket dismissal of the EU played idea

As part of the bad cop, bad cop pincer movement, Mr. Macron has also insisted on doing a tough deal with the British, believing that Mr. Johnson would bend and agree to EU terms rather than the double blow of No Deal in combination with enduring the ongoing Covid crisis.

However, the French president seems to have underestimated the influence of the prime minister's Brexiteer backers, who have made it clear that any compromise on the basic principles of Brexit would lead to calls for leadership competition.

No 10 officials admit being surprised at the inflexibility of the Brussels position, which they attribute to the EU's "uncertainty". One said: "They are so adamant about the need for us to stay in their orbit, shackled by their rules, that it must mean that they fear the UK will become a nimble, low-tax, low-regulation economy in Singapore on their doorstep that would be far more attractive for companies. & # 39;

The symbolism of a post-Brexit UK defeating the EU as the first western country to approve and clear the Pfizer vaccine last week was not lost on negotiating teams.

Ms. Merkel has teamed up with Mr. Macron (pictured together in July) to obstruct UK negotiations with Ms. von der Leyen. The two heads of state and government refuse to enter into direct negotiations with Mr Johnson

Ms. Merkel has teamed up with Mr. Macron (pictured together in July) to obstruct UK negotiations with Ms. von der Leyen. The two heads of state and government refuse to enter into direct negotiations with Mr Johnson

The French and Germans were also backed by the Dutch and Belgian governments, who said they did not want a trade deal "overturned" without binding review clauses and legal scrutiny.

As the mood in the UK camp turned increasingly gloomy, estimates of no deal odds had moved from 50-50 to nearly 80 percent by last night.

Throughout the process, Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove – a former The Times journalist – wrote the direst headlines he could have imagined at the end of the talks.

Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove (pictured) - a former journalist at The Times - wrote the direst headlines he could have imagined at the end of the talks

Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove (pictured) – a former journalist at The Times – wrote the direst headlines he could have imagined at the end of the talks

One of its most alarming prospects was a "new Battle of Trafalgar" when a no-deal result led to clashes with the French over access to British waters for their fishing fleets.

Yesterday – as a direct result of Mr Gove's predictions – it was announced that four ships armed with machine guns and cannons would be deployed to the Royal Navy and given the authority to arrest French and other EU fishermen who are illegally entering British territorial waters if a Trade deal is not agreed until December 31st.

Wildcat and Merlin helicopters are also on standby to facilitate surveillance. The final is in progress.

DOUGLAS MURRAY: Authoritarian. Unyielding. Merkel gets it so wrong because her arrogance is limitless

By Douglas Murray for the Sunday Post

Most of us have had no doubt about who is responsible for the obstacles and burning barricades that are blocking our path to a viable trade deal.

Emmanuel Macron, the astute, sharp-nosed President of France, led the way in punishing Britain for daring to leave. Desperate to preserve the advantages of the French fishermen. Desperate to be the savior of the whole European project.

However, Macron is by no means the only one carrying out this nasty sabotage campaign. Because as The Mail explains on Sunday today, its reasonably suitable counterpart in Germany, Angela Merkel, has played her own discreditable role.

Chancellor Merkel has consistently presented herself as the voice of common sense and compromise.

Emmanuel Macron's reasonable counterpart in Germany, Angela Merkel, has played her own discreditable role in running this nasty campaign of sabotage trade deals, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

Emmanuel Macron's reasonable counterpart in Germany, Angela Merkel, has played her own discreditable role in running this nasty campaign of sabotage trade deals, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

But it is Merkel who completely misunderstood and misjudged Great Britain – and she has to take primary responsibility for the EU's disastrous negotiating stance. It's partly a personal matter.

Angela Merkel is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor.

Known as Mutti – or Mummy – by voters, her formative years were in East Germany, the communist state ruled by the Stasi.

Like others, she belonged to the Free German Youth (FDJ), the official communist youth movement.

Righteousness and certainty flow from her. And she has no time for Boris Johnson, a man she – with remarkable condescension – dismisses as nothing more than a dissembler and a libertine.

Emmanuel Macron, the astute, sharp-nosed President of France, pioneered those who wanted to punish Britain for daring to leave, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

Emmanuel Macron, the astute, sharp-nosed President of France, pioneered those who wanted to punish Britain for daring to leave, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

Despite his large parliamentary majority and the certainty that he speaks for millions, she refuses to trust or believe the prime minister. And as calmly as she projects herself in front of the cameras, she has bent over completely behind closed doors.

We have seen Merkel's handicrafts before.

In 2016, our then Prime Minister David Cameron paid one last visit to Brussels to negotiate a better deal with the EU ahead of the referendum.

Cameron asked his European colleagues to make him a significant concession that would enable him to argue that it would be to our advantage to stay on the block.

But Merkel and the EU sent him to pack. Months later, Britain voted to leave completely.

We cannot blame Macron for these events, all of which took place a year before his serious candidacy for the French presidency.

The only great player from this catastrophic episode who is still in office today is the Chancellor herself, the great survivor of European politics in her 15th year in office.

In 2016, Merkel was of the opinion that the EU must be viewed as rigidly inflexible and that David Cameron (pictured with Merkel in 2015) must not receive any new concessions for fear that other nations might in turn demand flexibility, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

In 2016, Merkel was of the opinion that the EU must be viewed as rigidly inflexible and that David Cameron (pictured with Merkel in 2015) must not receive any new concessions for fear that other nations might in turn demand flexibility, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

Then as now, Merkel had a reputation for being tenacious.

Despite leading the continent through the eurozone crisis, it did so with an authoritarian rigidity that it still loathes in much of southern Europe.

Despite its enormous trade profits, Germany refused to save its "moronic" Mediterranean neighbors who were stupid enough to buy their products.

Then, in 2015, it was Merkel who made the disastrous decision to open Europe's borders. She has not consulted her colleagues.

She just did it and single-handedly turned a migrant challenge into a migrant crisis.

Even now, an unruly Merkel continues to try to punish those countries in Central and Eastern Europe that refuse to pay for their mistakes and accept large immigrant quotas themselves.

For all her reputation as a pragmatic political performer, her shortcomings have been evident for years: Unyielding when she should give in.

Merkel has no time for Boris Johnson (picture on Saturday), a man whom she - with remarkable condescension - dismisses as nothing more than a dissembler and a libertine, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

Merkel has no time for Boris Johnson (picture on Saturday), a man whom she – with remarkable condescension – dismisses as nothing more than a dissembler and a libertine, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

Authoritarian while presenting herself as an advocate for freedom. Uniquely revealing in their most basic political calculations, yet wildly out of hand.

In 2016, Merkel believed that the EU must be viewed as rigidly inflexible and that Cameron must not be made any new concessions for fear that other nations might in turn demand flexibility.

But – and not for the first time – it was a gross misjudgment. Despite mounting evidence that British voters were fed up, Merkel refused to believe we would leave. A serious mistake and a violation of their duty to understand their colleagues.

Today we see the same pattern – bad advice combined with combat readiness. The German Chancellor has again assumed that Great Britain will not leave the EU without an agreement. Once again she refused to believe the prime minister's clearest statements that we will.

The advice Merkel received from her side was that Boris bluff. And so she resumed her role as an indomitable negotiator.

She undoubtedly believes Britain will go on its way. Undoubtedly, like 2016, she is completely wrong.

This is not the first time she has been accused of behind-the-scenes manipulation. According to a biography from 2013, Merkel was not just a cultural representative of the Free German Youth, but a higher-ranking functionary for agitation and propaganda – claims that she never openly denied this.

Merkel's founding years were known as mothers - or mummies - in East Germany, the communist state ruled by the Stasi, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

Merkel's founding years were known as Mutti – or mummy – in East Germany, the communist state ruled by the Stasi, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY

Whatever the truth, we can be sure that Merkel has been shown to have received false advice every step of the way in the Brexit negotiations – and acted accordingly. And it is their incomprehension to understand this country that makes a departure without a deal so likely.

If she were really a pragmatist, she would have tried to get these negotiations going. A good and workable trade deal between the UK and the EU would benefit the entire continent.

Millions of people in the EU work in companies that need access to our markets. Any sensible and pragmatic EU leader would keep an eye on these people's livelihoods and negotiate on their behalf.

Instead, the EU's stance is both excessive and unstable. And that stems from the qualities for which she has so often been praised. An inflexibility. An authoritarian efficiency. An instinctive distrust of their negotiating partners.

Push them and they will collapse is the advice she has given to EU leaders. And they pushed. But there is no evidence that we will collapse.

What has collapsed is the Chancellor's reputation as a fair pragmatist. She is not such a thing. Mom is an ideologist who destroys the very things she is supposed to protect.

10 Ways You Can Help Make No Deal Brexit A Success For The UK

1 The road to recovery

Buying UK-made cars will avoid import taxes and support an important industry that employs 180,000 people.

2 Have a little lamb

Your Sunday roast will be much cheaper if you buy lamb as an excess of high quality British meat is likely to flood the market. We produce more lamb than we consume, but punitive EU tariffs mean that farmers can expect export taxes of up to 40 percent.

3 Escape into the country

Taking a vacation to the UK next year is likely to be cheaper and less stressful than going abroad (you may need additional insurance and driving documents in the EU). You'll also be helping a local pandemic-stricken travel industry.

Your Sunday roast will be much cheaper if you buy lamb as an excess of high quality British meat is likely to flood the market (file image).

Your Sunday roast will be much cheaper if you buy lamb as an excess of high quality British meat is likely to flood the market (file image).

4 suck it up!

Without a level playing field agreement, the UK will be able to abandon EU rules like the one that limits the power of vacuum cleaners to 900 watts. If the UK lifts this red tape, you can send a message to Brussels about the regulations by buying a model up to the old limit of 1,600 watts.

5 Buy, uh … Japanese

If the intransigence of Brussels leaves us without a UK-EU trade deal, we can reward those countries that want to do business with us. Our new trade deal with Japan will make goods like bluefin tuna, Kobe beef and udon noodles cheaper here, while 99 percent of UK exports will also benefit from duty-free trade. We also have a favorable trade agreement with Canada.

By eating more mussels (file image), mackerel, sardines and pollock, UK consumers could give a massive boost to the country's fishing industry, which employs 12,000 people

By eating more mussels (file image), mackerel, sardines and pollock, UK consumers could give a massive boost to the country's fishing industry, which employs 12,000 people

6 Bend your seashells

Dozens of species of fish live in British waters, but no casual diners eat only salmon, tuna and cod – most of which are imported from abroad. By eating more mussels, mackerel, sardines and pollock, UK consumers could give a massive boost to the country's fishing industry, which employs 12,000 people. A no deal Brexit could allow British boats to catch more fish in British waters as well, resulting in cheaper prices.

7 Buy a second home

This may be economically impossible for many, but it is a good time to invest in UK property as record lows are likely to persist due to the economic uncertainty created by Brexit. The market is booming right now, but you have to be ready to weather its ups and downs as house prices are expected to fall over the next year before recovering later in 2022.

No deal tariffs could add 40 percent to the price of French cheese, but this is the perfect opportunity to try British alternatives like Somerset Brie (file image).

No deal tariffs could add 40 percent to the price of French cheese, but this is the perfect opportunity to try British alternatives like Somerset Brie (file image).

8 Don't worry, Brie happy

No deal tariffs could add 40 percent to the price of French cheese, but this is the perfect opportunity to try British alternatives like Somerset Brie and Camembert, Baron Bigod cheese from Suffolk, Stinking Bishop from Gloucestershire, or good ol 'Cheddar or Stilton.

9 Raise a glass to Britain

English wines enjoy a rapidly growing reputation and are recognized in record numbers thanks to producers such as Roebuck Estates in West Sussex and Simpsons in Kent. Foreign alcohol could face import duties of 18 percent, making British alcohol even more attractive.

10 rags to riches

UK-made fashion could experience a renaissance in the event of No Deal, which could mean EU import prices rise 12 percent thanks to tariffs. Buying from the British would also reduce CO2 emissions from transport, which is already cited as a major problem for customers.

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) European Union (t) Michael Gove (t) Boris Johnson (t) Angela Merkel