Meanwhile, in Germany…
The interior minister in Angela Merkel’s government has sharply criticised the EU and the European Commission for its handling of the Brexit talks. Rigidity on the part of the EU’s negotiators is putting lives at risk, warns Horst Seehofer, the German interior minister.
In a letter to the EU Commission written last week he demands that the “the security of citizens in Europe should take precedence over all other aspects of exit negotiations.”
He broke with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s approach – back the European Commission against Britain at all costs. Seehofer was also at the centre of the row over migration which came close to bringing down Merkel in recent weeks.
“Weakening the European security architecture would affect all EU citizens and undermine their fundamental need for security,” he write. “The ever present threat of cross-border terrorism shows the need for unlimited co-operation in future.”
The EU has taken an extremely hard line with Britain on security, which is an odd thing to do considering that the UK – as a member of the Five Eyes partnership with the US, and with a leading listening capacity – is the main security and intelligence power in Europe, and EU member states say they want help and cooperation from the UK while the European Commission repeatedly insult this country treating it as a virtual security risk. These insults should probably have caused the UK government to withdraw temporarily from talks and to demand an apology, but it didn’t. Even some of the most pro-Remain cabinet ministers were annoyed by the EU’s stance, however.
The bombshell Seehofer letter has been seen by several British papers, and the story will probably play big tomorrow when the cabinet is at Chequers locked away, without access to their mobile devices, revealed the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
There’s an equal and opposite potential for Brexiteers to conclude, prematurely, that this shows that the Germans are starting to squabble and that it can only be a matter of time before German car manufacturers convince Merkel to get the EU to do a sensible deal with the UK to protect their interests.
Hmmm… don’t hold your breath. There is some way to go.
But it is a reminder that, contrary to the bed-wetter declinists who say silly old Britain is doomed, there are people on the continent who see that Michel Barnier and the ghastly Martin Selmayr, chief europhile official in the EU, are playing a very dangerous game indeed.