German Cabinet Distances Itself from Interior Minister Seehofer over Brexit Letter

German Cabinet Distances Itself from Interior Minister Seehofer over Brexit Letter

Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has stirred a controversy with a letter to the European Commission urging it to seek “unconditional security cooperation” with the UK in the Brexit negotiations.

Seehofer has thus angered the European Union, and caused the German Cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel to distance itself from him.

The German Interior Minister has thus created major EU-wide uproar for the second time in the past few weeks after his insistence on new measures against illegal immigration led to a crisis in the Merkel Cabinet, and complex talks that resulted in a compromise deal of the ruling coalition.

Seehofer, who is also the leader of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of the ruling center-right CDU, made the request “unconditional security cooperation” with Britain in a letter to the European Commission in late June.

The Commission, the EU executive, handles the Brexit negotiations with the UK on behalf of the 27 other EU member states.

The German government has now taken the unusual step of distancing itself from its own Interior Minister, German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday, as cited by DW.

“I would like to clarify that this [Seehofer’s] was not a letter sanctioned by the German government,” Thomas Eckert from the German Representation to the EU wrote in a letter to EU Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

An EU spokeswoman had previously said Seehofer’s letter was “not the position of the European Council, including Germany.”

Seehofer is said to have infuriated the European Commission as it is trying to present a united European front in the Brexit negotiations, and the German Interior Minister’s letter has been seen as undermining that.

Seehofer’s spokesman said the minister’s letter merely expressed a “general concern” and that he “in no way” was trying to influence the Brexit talks.

(Banner image: Flickr)

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