Alleged details of a meeting with EU leaders have been leaked, and suggest Theresa May is “begging” and “weak-spirited” at the negotiating table.
A source told the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that the prime minister was “anxious”, “despondent”, and “discouraged” speaking to Jean-Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg who presides over the EU’s unelected executive.
The president of the European Commission is supposed to have told colleagues that Mrs. May “begged for help”, looking “tormented” and appearing as though she had not slept for a night, with dark bags under her eyes.
The prime minister’s former chief of staff, Nick Timothy, has laid the blame for the highly unflattering account at the feet of Martin Selmayr, who acts as Juncker’s right-hand man and has been variously described as ‘Darth Vader’, ‘Rasputin’, and ‘The Monster’.
While many leading figures among the European Union’s member-states say a constructive and comprehensive partnership with Brexit Britain is imperative — including the prime ministers of Poland and Hungary, the Minister-President of Flanders, and leading German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel, among others — some in the EU’s permanent ‘eurocracy’ stand accused of working to sabotage negotiations, being more concerned about the future of the bloc than the prosperity of its constituent countries.
Hans-Olaf Henkel, in particular, has been open about his belief that senior figures such as Juncker, lead negotiator Michel Barnier, and the EU Parliament’s Brexit representative Guy Verhofstadt are on a mission to “punish” Britain and “want to make a mess out of this whole unhappy situation”.
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) October 15, 2017
Selmayr, while he has officially denied responsibility for the FAZ leak on social media, is widely reported as having taken the Brexit vote as a “personal insult”, and was previously accused of leaking details of a phone call in which Juncker allegedly told Germany’s Angela Merkel that Theresa May was “deluded”.
“At best, no-one thinks Selmayr would shed a tear if the UK fell out of Europe without a deal; at worst he seems to be actively scheming to make that happen,” commented a British official at the time.
“Selmayr is a ‘believer’ and he believes a destructive Brexit is the best way to keep Europe together.”