Time is pressing on Brexit negotiations: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in Berlin, Germany, July 5 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

BERLIN (Reuters) – Time is pressing in Britain’s negotiations with the European Union on its departure from the bloc, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday before talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

“Negotiations will now enter a crucial phase. You know that on behalf of the European Union the Commission is leading those negotiations with the United Kingdom,” Merkel said. “So there are a number of issues that we would like to discuss here also bilaterally, a number of substantive issues.”

She said Germany was delighted that the English soccer team was still in the World Cup competition in Russia. “We are out unfortunately,” Merkel said of the German team, which crashed out in the first round.

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