Ms Merkel said that if Mrs May’s deal is rejected a third time, another EU summit might be needed.
She told Germany‘s parliament in Berlin on Thursday that “we can comply in principle with this request if we were to have a positive vote next week on the withdrawal documents in the British Parliament”.
She said that if the withdrawal deal isn’t passed, “we will keep open whether there has to be another meeting of the European Council before the withdrawal date”.
Her comments echoed those of EU Council president Donald Tusk, who is overseeing a summit on Thursday in which Mrs May will seek approval from 27 EU leaders to delay Brexit from March 29 to June 30.
Mr Tusk has also said Parliament must approve Mrs May’s divorce deal before March 29.
But Tory MP Mark Francois immediately ridiculed the prospect of Mrs May’s deal passing at the third time of asking
The hardline Brexiteer said that if she comes back with the same question, “she will get the same answer”.
Mrs May’s request to delay Brexit is also complicated by European Parliament elections in May, which the government doesn’t want to participate in.
However, Lithuania’s president Dalia Grybauskaite was more certain about the delay being granted, telling the country’s LRT Radio that “we will definitely approve [an extension]”.
Mrs May had sparked fury on Wednesday night after she issued a Downing Street statement in which she appeared to blame MPs for failing to implement Brexit.
The latest wave of Westminster chaos prompted hundreds of thousands of people to sign a petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked.
It reached the 500,000 mark at 8am on Thursday, having stood at 300,000 at midnight.