Leaked Irish document reveals European dismay at UK 'chaos' over Brexit

Posted On: 
23rd November 2017

European Union ministers have been left shocked at Britain's "chaotic" approach to the Brexit negotiations, according to a leaked document.

Theresa May and Leo Varadkar Theresa May and Leo Varadkar are at odds over Brexit.
PA Images

The paper, based on discussions between Irish ministers and their EU counterparts, reveals widespread dismay at how negotiations between Brussels and London are proceeding.

Pessimism is also growing about the chances of a breakthrough in the talks at next month's crucial European Council meeting.

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According to Irish state broadcaster RTE, senior EU officials are alarmed by "chaos in the Conservative government".

The leaked document claims that at a meeting in Luxembourg, Ian Forrester, the British judge in the European Court of Justice, bemoaned "the quality of politicians in Westminster" and said UK voters may eventually see Brexit as "a great mistake" and decide to remain in the EU after all.

It also reports that at a meeting with two French ministers, Brexit Secretary David Davis stunned his hosts by barely mentioning the fact that the UK is leaving the EU.

A Czech government minister told the Irish that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was "unimpressive", although he had "avoided any gaffes" during a visit to the country in September.

And Czech deputy foreign affairs minister Jakub Dürr told Irish officials "he felt sorry for British ambassadors around the EU trying to communicate a coherent message when there is political confusion at home".

The leak comes at a time when tensions between Dublin and London are growing over the future of the Irish border after Brexit.

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has said he is willing to veto any attempts to begin EU-UK trade talks unless Theresa May provides written guarantees that there will be no return to a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Theresa May's official spokesman said he would not comment on leaked documents, but insisted relations between the Prime Minister and her Irish counterpart were good.

But he added: "The Government is working hard on preparations for Brexit.

"We have been engaged on the issue of the border throughout - they've held numerous meetings in person and on the telephone. There is more work to be done, everybody accepts that, but equally everybody is committed to ensuring a frictionless border."