Although many in the EU believe they won the first round after Theresa May agreed to stump up the €45 billion divorce settlement, the reality is that Brexit will still leave a huge hole in the budget.
Unlike Donald Trump’s America, the UK and its government are not ripping up climate change accords or cancelling on nuclear deals.
Although the split is inevitable, Britain wants to stay ‘aligned’ to the bloc in what Philip Hammond calls the “extraordinary levels of interconnectedness” between the EU and UK.
But the Franco-German approach seems to hope for a clean break up – potentially causing unnecessary damage across Europe.
Officials in Berlin have dismissed the British idea of “managed divergence” as “the latest episode in the ‘cake and eat it’ sitcom series”.
And although the UK wants to leave the single market and customs union, forcing Britain to start trade negotiations from scratch is viewed as an aggressive move from the EU which in turn could cause damage to its own members.
Emmanuel Macron is closely aligned with Mrs Merkel
French MEP Jean Arthuis claimed Ms Merkel could push for an even stronger alliance should she succeed in forming a majority government after leaving Germany without formal leadership for months.
Speaking to Euronews, Mr Arthuis said: “If this grand coalition is formed, I think it will be favorable to Europe.
“Strengthening the Franco-German relationship will be good. Also beyond the partnership to the rest of the European partnership.”
Officials in Berlin have dismissed the British idea of “managed divergence”
“They are simply holding out for more money and commitments from Britain.
“Any British government that goes along with this German/French agenda will be betraying UK interests.
“The government must be clear in its purpose – the pursuit of British interests. Those interests are not served by cow-towing to the agenda of Merkle but by pursuing our own.”