Determined to twist the knife in, the beleaguered German Chancellor ramped up pressure on Theresa May to activate the formal process for unshackling Britain from the Brussels club.
In a thinly-veiled threat to Mrs May, a frosty Mrs Merkel said: “I told the British Prime Minister very clearly during our talks that first Article 50, then common guidelines from the European Council, and then the negotiations.
“I have no reason to doubt that this agreed strategy will be followed.”
Bitter Brussels bigwigs have already threatened to punish the nation during Brexit negotiations as Britain and the bloc wrestle over single market access and freedom of movement rules.
Berlin has repeatedly backed the EU’s stance that there shall be “no negotiations without notification” and the latest rejection indicates Mrs Merkel’s determination to prioritise the EU27 over any future relationship with the UK.
Mrs May has promised to deliver Brexit by March next year, following the historic June 23 referendum.
But firm deals could be stalled because other countries are reluctant to get involved in detailed discussions until Britain”s future ties with the EU are made clear.
Angela Merkel’s bombshell intervention comes after the German chancellor quashed Mrs May’s plans to informally assure the rights of EU migrants both sides of the Channel.
The Prime Minister had wanted to calm uncertainties by assuring Britain’s 1.2million workers living in the EU that they could keep their rights to residence, work and healthcare after Brexit, by Britain promising the same for the EU’s 3.3million workers in the UK.
But any hopes of warm relations with Germany before Article 50 is triggered were dramatically dashed by Mrs Merkel.
However concerns were rebuffed by a spokesman for Mrs May, who added: “Obviously negotiations can”t start until we”ve triggered Article 50 which won”t be until next year.
“But there is dialogue between the prime minister and other world leaders.”