Assumptions from the Theresa May and Jean-Claude Junker dinner

A leaked account of the recent meeting of Theresa May and David Davis with Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier at 10 Downing Street has appeared in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [FAZ].

Read Jeremy Cliffe’s 30 item twitter thread for a synopsis of the points in the FAZ article. The account is not complimentary to Theresa May, but then it’s Juncker’s view in the leaked account.  Here’s my take,

  • J-C Juncker would have been buoyed up by the adoption of the Brexit negotiating position by the 27 EU member states. Thinking that the weight of 27 nations easily outweighed the UK. Correction: This agreement by the EU27 didn’t occur until after the dinner date.
  • Juncker represents the EU bureaucracy, which is minded to see self justifying complexity and lengthy negotiations.
  • A leak of a confidential meeting, and in such comprehensive detail, destroys trust between the parties.
  • That J-C Juncker briefed Angela Merkel soon after the meeting, such that Merkel used Juncker’s uncomplimentary view of the UK’s stance in  a speech the following day.
  • It’s in Germany where the power lies in the Brexit negotiations.
  • I can’t believe that countries like the Netherlands, and Denmark would be happy with the breakdown of trust so early in the negotiations – expect some payback to Juncker.
  • The EU bureaucracy needs money, so puts the ‘divorce’ bill as a priority.

I’m sure there are many more inferences to draw from the FAZ article. For me, the main ones are,

  • Expect negotiations to leak, especially from the EU
  • Likelihood of no deal has increased
  • May and the UK Brexit team need create a viable briefing strategy to counter loss of confidentiality
  • Appears May and her team have not given way on any negotiating points

The Daily Mail reports on the conflicts at the May / Juncker dinner date.

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