Merkel Greets Brexit Draft, Warns of 'Worst Case' No-Deal Divorce


German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday greeted the draft Brexit agreement but warned that its rejection would lead to the "worst-case scenario" of a disorderly no-deal exit.

"I am very happy that, after lengthy and not always easy negotiations, a proposal could be reached," Merkel said of the draft, which must still be backed by the British parliament and the EU's 27 remaining members.

But Merkel, the leader of the biggest EU economy, added that "the worst-case scenario, and the most disorderly case, would be that no deal is reached".

"This is an alternative we must always stay mindful of," said Merkel, speaking after a cabinet meeting in Potsdam near Berlin.

"The question is: is what we have now a foundation? I hope that it can be a foundation."

British leader Theresa May on Wednesday won cabinet approval for the draft, but suffered a huge blow Thursday when a series of ministers quit as she tried to sell the deal to a divided parliament.

May faces stiff opposition in the legislature from Brexit hardliners who see the deal as conceding too much to Brussels and EU supporters who want closer ties to the EU or a second referendum.

May insisted that while the negotiations had not been comfortable, it was the best Britain could hope for when it leaves the EU on March 29.

EU leaders will hold an extraordinary Brexit summit on November 25. If they approve the agreement, the British parliament is scheduled to vote on it in early December.

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