EU Infighting: Merkel and Tusk Attack Juncker for Sabotaging Brexit Negotiations; Choice Quotes

EC vs EC Donald Tusk, president of the European Council went after Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission for Juncker’s leak of his dinner meeting with UK prime minister Theresa May.

by Mish

Following ill-fated dinner meeting, Juncker phoned Angela Merkel “Theresa May Lives in a Different Galaxy”. Someone, presumably Juncker’s chief of staff, Martin Selmayr, leaked the results of the dinner meeting and Juncker’s phone call to the German press.

Since then, Juncker stated, “Brexit will never be a success”. In a Speech on Friday, delivered in French, Juncker also stated the “English language is losing importance”. Finally, Juncker stated he will not spend more than 30 minutes a week dealing with Brexit.

As a result of his antics, Tusk and Merkel both laid into Juncker.

Brexit Will Never be a Success

Striding into the war-of-words between London and Brussels over the coming negotiations between Britain and the EU, Selmayr — the powerful German bureaucrat who runs the European Commission — said at a POLITICO event that “Brexit will never become a success. It is a sad and sorry event.”
Commission president Juncker will not spend more than 30 minutes a week dealing with Brexit, added Selmayr.

‘English is Losing Importance’

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, opted to deliver a speech in French on Friday morning because he said “English is losing importance” in Europe.
He gave the comments, which are unlikely to mend fences after a war of words between Brussels and London over Brexit negotiations, at the “State of the Union” conference in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio — an annual event for European dignitaries.

Tusk Attacks Juncker

"The European Commission is now under fire from the European Council for the incompetent handling of the private dinner between Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May. Frankfurter Allgemeine has talked to Donald Tusk and his people and hears criticism of Juncker – and, we presume, Juncker’s chief of staff Martin Selmayr – who leaked the information to a German newspaper. The view from the council is that the leak had gone too far and did not help anybody. The negotiations are going to be difficult enough as they are. And Tusk himself is quoted as saying that if we start to quarrel at the beginning of the negotiations, we will never come to conclude a deal.

The Commission yesterday doubled down on with an assertion that they will only spend 30 minutes a week on Brexit – which is another way of saying that Juncker is not supporting a Brexit agreement.

The implication from all this is fairly clear. The Commission is trying to sabotage the process, not very intelligently, while the European Council at least lives in the hope that a deal could be possible. We find it very hard to understand what other purpose this leak could have had than to achieve maximum provocation.

The hostilities will now accelerate work on a plan B within the UK, that would allow the UK to exit the EU without an Article 50 agreement. We still think that an agreement should be possible – but not along the lines of the EU’s hastily updated negotiating mandate. The draft mandates that had been leaked previously at least constituted a viable basis for negotiations. This has now become more of a gamble."

The above is from Eurointelligence by email.

Merkel Attacks Juncker

In addition to Tusk blasting Juncker, The Independent reports Angela Merkel ‘angry with Jean-Claude Juncker’ over leak of Theresa May’s disastrous Brexit dinner.

"Angela Merkel is angry with Jean-Claude Juncker over the leaking of details of a tense dinner meeting with Theresa May about Brexit, it has been claimed.

Der Spiegel reports the German Chancellor reacted angrily to the leak. Donald Tusk, the president of the EU’s ruling council, was forced to step in to call for “mutual respect” after Ms. May’s aggressive speech outside Number 10.

In her speech, Ms. May said: “The events of the last few days have shown that – whatever our wishes, and however reasonable the positions of Europe’s other leaders – there are some in Brussels who do not want these talks to succeed, who do not want Britain to prosper.

“So now more than ever we need to be led by a Prime Minister and a Government that is strong and stable."

Juncker Sabotage

For icing on the cake, recall the EU upped its Brexit divorce bill from €60 billion to €100 billion. I commented on that ploy in EU Buffoonery: Brexit Divorce Bill Upped to €100 Billion.

Juncker does not want Brexit negotiations to succeed. I fail to see how there can possibly be any other conclusion. Even the most ardent deal believers, such as the folks at Eurointelligence, should face the facts.

Just Leave

My position has been clear all along: Just Leave.

On April 28, I wrote Brexit Negotiations: Why Bother?

Only by walking away – showing a willingness to let time expire – does the UK have a chance at reasonable negotiations. Even then, I am not sure what the chance is because the “EU’s desire to punish the UK and set rules in the name of solidarity” likely exceeds the desire to walk away with a win-win situation.

Plan B

Thanks to Junker’s Buffoonery, Theresa May has no choice but to start Plan B: Exit without agreement.

Only by walking away – showing a willingness to let time expire – does the UK have a chance at reasonable negotiations. Even then, I am not sure what the chance is because the “EU’s desire to punish the UK and set rules in the name of solidarity” likely exceeds the desire to walk away with a win-win situation.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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