Merkel Annoyed by Juncker Over Brexit Dinner With May: Spiegel

  • German Chancellor sees inflaming Brexit talks as unhelpful
  • U.K. government accuses some EU states of wanting it to fail

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is annoyed with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over his behavior in negotiations over the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, Der Spiegel reported without saying where it got the information.

Merkel’s annoyance is based on the leaking of details of Juncker’s April 26 dinner with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper. The chancellery assumes Juncker, or his cabinet leader Martin Selmayr, informed the paper about the tone of the conversation, and inflaming the atmosphere between the EU and the U.K. wouldn’t be considered helpful, Spiegel reported.

May and Juncker outside Downing Street April 26.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

FAS reported on April 30 that Juncker left the talks at Downing Street shocked at May’s reluctance to compromise and “ten times more skeptical” of reaching a mutually acceptable deal over Brexit. It said the pair disagreed over the complexity involved in any agreement, the sequencing of talks, and budget contributions.

The U.K. government on Sunday accused some EU countries of wanting Britain to “fail” as May’s team stepped up the attack on the bloc’s leaders in a push for votes in the British election. Home Secretary Amber Rudd claimed Juncker held “very hostile” briefings against May after the London dinner meeting deliberately to influence voters. Rudd criticized the timing of reports -- that the EU wants to stop May from leading Brexit talks, and that Britain will face a 100 billion euro ($110 billion) exit bill -- in the weeks before the June 8 vote.

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