Dinner for one? Merkel and co talk Brexit at beer summit as Britain dines alone

AFP - [email protected] • 18 Oct, 2018 Updated Thu 18 Oct 2018 15:45 CEST
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Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel enjoyed a beer and chips summit with European leaders after gruelling Brexit talks, while UK Prime Minister Theresa May was nowhere to be seen.

May knew before she got to Brussels that she wouldn't be invited to dinner with her European opposite numbers, who wanted to discuss her Brexit plan without her.

But the Conservative leader can't have known, as she returned to the British residence for dinner after intense discussions, that she'd also miss out when four colleagues went on an impromptu trip to the pub for beer and chips.

So how did it happen?

After Wednesday night's inconclusive Brexit dinner, Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron walked back to their hotel together.

After a leisurely 25-minute stroll through Brussels' old town, Macron received a text message from Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel: "Come and join us."

A few minutes later Macron, Merkel, Bettel and Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel were sat round a convivial table on the city's Grand-Place, beers in hand.

No reporters had been invited to the apparently spontaneous get-together, but a passing journalist snapped a mobile phone shot that quickly sped around Twitter.

Brussels journalists reported that Merkel was asked by a tourist in the bar how Brexit talks were going. She reportedly replied: "Please, it's a wonderful evening - let's not spoil it with that!" 

We had a drink between colleagues last night, a beer. And chips, because we're in Brussels. It was very nice," confirmed Bettel as he arrived at the summit venue on Thursday.

The Luxembourg leader confirmed that the four pals had reviewed the political events of the day, but that they were also just happy to relax together and have a chat. 

"And I paid, because of last Sunday's election, if you want to know everything," he added. Bettel's party performed well enough in the poll that he has renewed his governing coalition.




AFP 2018/10/18 15:45

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