Germany vs Britain: Merkel mocks May as leaders grapple over Brexit
Clear tensions are emerging between the two female leaders as Merkel – a mighty force in the European Union – and May each hope to get the better end of the Brexit deal.
Britain’s plan to leave the bloc has caused a huge divide both at home and abroad, and May has been repeatedly criticized for being unable – or unwilling – to lay out her plans.
A frustrated Merkel took to mocking the PM as she waited for Britain to explain exactly what it wants from the divorce. Speaking with reporters at a World Economic Forum event, Merkel reportedly joked she is locked in a “loop” with the British leader.
Merkel said May keeps asking her to “make me an offer,” according to reports, as the chancellor was asked about post-Brexit ties. ITV News' Robert Peston reported that Merkel said: “But you're leaving - we don't have to make you an offer. Come on, what do you want?”
The room full of journalists reportedly laughed at the mock exchange played out by Merkel.
At home, May is having little luck. The Conservative Party seems set for a split down the middle and a hard-Brexit wing seems ready to pounce. Popular posh-boy Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg caused a stir at the weekend when he told Peston that May must stick to the Brexit lines she herself drew.
Now, the phrase 'BRINO' - Brexit In Name Only – has been thrown around, as a revolt is threatened and a vote of no confidence has been predicted.
The divorce talks, having already gone on for almost one year before Brexit’s March 2019 deadline, have achieved little. Business leaders and politicians around the bloc are calling for results.
Downing Street has not played its hand in public, leading to rumors that the cabinet is in disarray. Remain-backing MPs have been threatening to rebel against any attempt to force through a 'hard' Brexit while, on another side, hardcore Leavers say May must stick with the lines she drew.
The EU will today demand that Britain signs up to its rule for longer as the bloc prepares its own demands. Insiders say it will set out a series of red lines as it formally adopts its negotiating guidelines for the next phase of the talks. During a mooted period of transition, lasting up to two years, the EU will order Britain to keep Brussels laws and free-movement rules.
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