German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday welcomed progress in negotiations on a Brexit deal and said she wanted a close relationship with Britain after it leaves the European Union, especially on security matters.
"I hope there is progress, apparently there is progress, but sometimes the devil is in the detail - so everything is only worked out when it is all worked out," she told a news conference after meeting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Earlier, EU negotiator Michel Barnier said a Brexit deal was "within reach" next week, even as he rammed home his insistence that Britain must accept possible checks on trade between its mainland and Northern Ireland.
Merkel said the negotiations were in a decisive phase and the sooner they were concluded the better.
Rutte told the joint news conference: "It is important that Brexit happens as orderly as possible."