January 15, 2019 / 10:49 AM / a month ago

Germany says EU ready to talk if UK rejects Brexit deal

FILE PHOTO: Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas looks on during a 'Global Ireland' news conference in Dublin, Ireland January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - The European Union could hold new talks with Britain if parliament in London rejects the Brexit agreement on Tuesday, Germany’s foreign minister said, but he ruled out significant changes to the treaty.

Speaking to reporters at the European Parliament, Heiko Maas said: “The agreement stands, as it is. I doubt very much that the agreement can be fundamentally reopened. If there were a better solution, it would already have been put forward.”

He said he had not given up hope that Prime Minister Theresa May might win parliamentary backing for her withdrawal agreement with the EU, saying that would be a good way to avoid a disorderly departure. But he added: “If it goes wrong tonight, there could be further talks.”

EU leaders have previously ruled out significant changes to the withdrawal agreement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman denied a report on Tuesday in Britain’s Sun newspaper that she had given May assurances that the EU could amend the deal if the British parliament rejected it.

Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Alastair Macdonald

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