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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.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:59:01 PM EST

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