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Germany shrugs off British leaks of Brexit phone call between Johnson and Merkel
Germany has shrugged off British leaks of a Brexit phone call between prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Angela Merkel.

Dr Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that, as was usual, he would not comment on "private, confidential" talks between government leaders.

Around Berlin on Tuesday, however, the British breach of diplomatic protocol and subsequent spin in Tory-friendly media was greeted with a weary sigh.

German officials and politicians said the British portrayal of the conversation was more revealing about the British position.

A No 10 Downing Street source told broadcast journalists that Dr Merkel had "made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on [the UK] leaving the customs union".

While the Downing Street source claimed the conversation was a "useful clarifying moment", Norbert Röttgen, a senior official in Dr Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and head of the Bundestag foreign affairs committee, said there was "no new German position on Brexit".

"Frankly, a deal on the basis of Johnson's proposals until October 31st has been unrealistic from the beginning and yet the EU has been willing to engage," he wrote on Twitter. "Blaming others for the current situation is not fair play."


Last April in Dublin she [Merkel] said it was "moving" to learn about daily life from people living on and around the Border.

As a former East German, she said she "knew only too well what it means once borders vanish, once walls fall, and that one needs to do anything in order to bring about a peaceful co-operation".

Her discussions that day, she said, had left her mindful of the heavy death toll from Northern Ireland violence, and would "encourage" her to ensure the "peaceful" Good Friday agreement was upheld.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:59:01 PM EST
Politico's Florian Eder (who's from Germany):
In case you missed it, according to a U.K. government official's account of the call, Merkel told Johnson the U.K. cannot exit the EU without leaving Northern Ireland in a customs union with the EU forever.

As if. The German government confirmed the call took place, but wouldn't comment on what was said, pointing to its rule that such conversations are treated as confidential by the chancellor. But as if anyone has ever heard Merkel speak in absolute terms such as "never" or "forever." If Johnson's plan was to sabotage both the talks held in Brussels and the EU's trust in him, it went exactly according to plan.

Those who know Merkel know this: There's only one thing the chancellor hates more than people briefing out a confidential talk with her, and that's people inaccurately briefing out a confidential talk with her. Now raise your hand if you think the British account is accurate. We'll wait ... Anybody? ... Didn't think so.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 08:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris was due to undertake a "whirlwind tour" of key EU leaders prior to the EU Council summit next week in order to persuade them of the merits of his plan.. Unfortunately Merkel and Macron couldn't meet him citing diary conflicts. I wonder why? Perhaps Merkel had a pressing engagement opening a beer-fest or something...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 10:06:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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