The Chancellor also said she hoped that UK Prime Minister Theresa May would achieve her goal of securing a withdrawal agreement.
“I've always said I'm going to fight until the last hour… so we can see an orderly exit,” she said on the eve of an Ireland visit, warning that avoiding a hard border was a matter of preserving the peace.
Speaking at a Berlin press conference, Merkel said that an orderly Brexit would be “in interest of Britain but also in our interest”.
She said that — because of the related issue of avoiding a new “hard border” between British Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland — it would also affect “peace in Ireland”.
Therefore it was “a question of violence or no violence and here we naturally want to make a contribution,” Merkel said.
She stressed that ultimately “the solution has to be found by Great Britain itself” and expressed hope that May “will be successful”.
Time running out
The UK has until April 12th to propose a plan to the EU – which must be accepted by the bloc – or it will leave without a deal on that date.
In a statement on Tuesday night, May announced she wanted to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a way forward and put the plan to a vote in the Commons before April 10th – when the EU will hold an emergency summit on Brexit.
She insisted her withdrawal agreement – which was voted down last week – would remain part of the deal.
If there is no agreement between the two leaders, May said a number of options would be put to MPs “to determine which course to pursue”.
In either event, May said she would ask the EU for a further extension in a bid to get an agreement passed by parliament before May 22nd, so the UK does not have to take part in European elections.