The German chancellor held out an olive branch to the British Government ahead of the March 29 deadline. It comes as Mrs May mounts a last-ditch bid to wrestle concessions from the EU over the controversial Northern Ireland backstop. Last night, Britain’s chief negotiator Olly Robbins was overheard in a bar saying the EU was likely to offer a Brexit time extension, ITV News reports.
Ms Merkel, who was speaking alongside Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, warned that any Brexit deal needed to be fair.
She said: “We agree that we must do everything to achieve an orderly Brexit.
“It is about providing as much security as possible and we both feel a duty to do everything for a deal, but it must be a fair agreement that works in practice and we have some work ahead.”
Mrs May hopes to convince EU leaders to scrap the backstop, an insurance clause to ensure there is no hard border in Northern Ireland.
MPs voted down her Withdrawal Agreement in a Commons vote on January 15, with Mrs May crashing to the worst parliamentary defeat in modern British history.
Mrs May hopes to persuade the EU to reopen talks on the divorce agreement.
But EU leaders have so far refused to budge, and rejected Mrs May’s calls to renegotiate the deal.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, appearing alongside Mrs Merkel, shot down Mrs May’s appeal to get the deal renegotiated.
Mr Bettel said: “It is not possible to find a better result.
“The priority is to protect the integrity of the EU internal market and minimise the effects of Brexit for citizens.”
Last week, Ms Merkel insisted there was “still time” to solve the Brexit deadlock.
The German leader has also called for a “creative” compromise, but warned Mrs May she needed to clarify “exactly” what the UK wants.
Mrs May has promised to return to the Commons on February 26 if a deal has been secured, paving the way for a second meaningful vote.