The German Chancellor issued the warning in a rare interview with the Financial Times, as Ms Merkel nears the end of her tenure. She said the EU needed to respond to Britain’s departure by upping its game, and becoming “attractive, innovative, creative, a good place for research and education… competition can then be very productive.” Ms Merkel also discussed Berlin’s fears that the UK could become a serious economic competitor on its doorstep, as Britain will be able to diverge from current EU rules.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal is nearing the final stages, as the House of Lords debate on the legislation nears a close.
Once it has been approved, the Withdrawal Agreement will then require Royal Assent before it is written into law.
But the Government faces one final hurdle, as MEPs in the European Parliament need to ratify the deal.
They are due to debate and vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on January 29 – just two days before Britain is set to leave the European Union.
Once the UK has left the bloc, the Prime Minister will enter into talks with Brussels to reach a trade deal.
They have until December 31, 2020 to reach an agreement – as Mr Johnson has insisted the transition period will not be extended.
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9.12am update: Sir Patrick Stewart has described Brexit as ‘the grimmest thing’ to happen in politics
The actor, best known for his roles in Star Trek and the X-Men films, is a notorious Remainer and described Brexit as ‘very, very sad’.
Speaking at the premier of Star Trek: Picard, he said: “It makes me very, very sad. I think what is happening with the European Union is actually the saddest, grimmest thing that has happened to me since I have been involved in politics.”
Sir Patrick was a Remain campaigner and has been an advocate of a second Brexit referendum.
8.46am update: ‘Historic day’ for Britain as MEPs spend last ever day in Strasbourg
Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe has branded today a “historic day”, as it marks the last day British MEPs will spend in Strasbourg.
He said today marked an “exciting new chapter” and urged Britons to “embrace” the change.
Mr Lowe wrote on Twitter: “Historic day. The last ever for British MEPs in Strasbourg. Ignore the Remainer doom-mongers.
“We’re at the start of an exciting new chapter in our nation’s history. Let’s embrace it and make it a roaring success!”
8.25am update: Nigel Farage banned from launching fireworks on Brexit day
Nigel Farage, who will be hosting a Brexit party in Parliament Square on January 31 to mark Britain’s departure from the EU, has been told he cannot set off fireworks.
Yesterday Mr Farage and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice were given approval to hold the 20,000 strong party but their application to launch fireworks was rejected, The Telegraph reports.
They had hoped to launch fireworks from a nearby barage on the River Thames but the Port of London Authority, which manages the Thames, refused them permission.
Mr Farage said: “The plan was to have a short, dramatic five minute firework display and everyone says no. We have just met obstacles at every moment of this.”
8.19am update: Number of members in EU Parliament’s committees to change after Brexit
On Wednesday, MEPs voted to reduce the size of the European Parliament’s comittees and subcommittees post-Brexit.
The number of members sitting on the committees will be reduced, in order to reflect the smaller composition of the House.