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Meanwhile, UK markets worry about future

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz says Germany is ready for all kinds of Brexits

Britain and the European Union are frantically trying to agree on how to avoid a chaotic breakup in March. Germany's finance minister has said Berlin is prepared for the worst possible outcome. Germany is certainly prepared for a chaotic British exit from the EU.

Britain and the remaining 27 European Union countries are negotiating the finishing touches of a draft deal to ensure an orderly Brexit at the end of March 2019. But resistance to the deal from British lawmakers and the Spanish government has raised fears that Britain could crash out of the bloc with no deal in place.

Scholz told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper that a no-deal Brexit risked serious economic disruption for both sides, but said Germany was "preparing very carefully" for that outcome. "Both scenarios are posing challenges for us, but we can and will manage them," he said. He called on both sides to agree on a final deal that would contain the disruption.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders are hoping to sign off on the draft Brexit deal and a political declaration on post-Brexit ties during a special Sunday summit in Brussels. However, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reiterated a threat to withhold his country's approval over the status of Gibraltar.

Meanwhile, large markets like Birmingham's historic wholesale markets are getting ready for significant disruption after Brexit, as a 92-page Brexit Commission report coordinated by Birmingham City Council highlights all possible problem areas.

Traders have been warned they could be due for upheaval after Brexit, because of the implications for perishable foods and potential restriction of movement for lorry drivers. There would likely be knock-on effects for the scores of restaurants, hotels, takeaways and retailers supplied by the market, which was first established in the twelfth century.

The report reveals that the site, which is the largest integrated market in the country, welcomes 400 heavy goods vehicles a day, of which nearly one in five (19 percent) are from the EU. Traders could be faced with the challenge of having to stockpile food while the drivers may need to jump through hoops just to get into the country.

The impact report states: "With 400 goods vehicles arriving at the Wholesale Market nightly, there could be significant vulnerabilities to disruption after Brexit, with a just in time supply chain operation in the UK, holding between three and five-days stock at one time – as obviously fresh produce has a limited shelf life.



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