‘Substantial steps’ required to break Brexit stand-off, say Germans


"Substantial steps" must be taken to break the Brexit stand-off, a senior German official has demanded.

Michael Roth, Germany's deputy foreign minister, has said any delay must come with strict conditions, as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to plead for more time in Berlin.

As he arrived at a European Union meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday, Mr Roth said "so far absolutely nothing has changed" and "we are in a very, very frustrating situation here".

Mr Roth said that "within the European Union, there isn't an endless readiness to keep talking about delays so long as there is no substantial progress on the British side".

Mrs May has asked for a new delay until June 30 but, according to reports, Brexit could be delayed by nearly a year under plans being considered by EU officials.

Such an extension would mean the UK had to take part in European parliamentary elections, a prospect anathema to hardline Brexiteer Tories, and could be sidelined from budget decisions in Brussels.

The Prime Minister is embarking on a diplomatic flurry which will see her meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a crunch EU summit on Wednesday.

All 27 remaining EU heads of government must agree to an extension if the UK is to avoid the default position of a no-deal Brexit on Friday night.

On Monday night, MPs and peers backed a new law to extend the Brexit process and cross-party talks are expected to continue in the hope of finding a compromise.