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German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in Berlin
Image: picture alliance/dpa/C. Koall
Politics

Seehofer's Brexit comments irk Berlin

Alexander Pearson
July 9, 2018

The conservative Interior Minister told the European Commission that it should aim for "unconditional security cooperation" in Brexit negotiations with Britain. Berlin reportedly didn't sign off on that request.

https://p.dw.com/p/313KI

The German government took the unusual step of distancing itself from German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer after he requested the EU strive for "unconditional security cooperation" with Britain after it leaves the bloc, German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday. His move has angered the EU Commission, which is trying to present a united European front in the Brexit negotiations.

Seehofer made the request in a letter to the EU Commission, the bloc's executive arm that has been leading negotiations for EU national governments, in late June.

"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.

May: 'Europe's security is our security'

An EU spokeswoman had previously said Seehofer's letter was "not the position of the European Council, including Germany." His request reportedly angered officials in Brussels who saw it as undermining EU unity in the Brexit negotiations.

Seehofer: Not trying to influence talks

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

Britain is set to leave the EU in March 2019, but both sides have struggled to make progress on a final deal amid disagreements over their future economic and political relationship. On Sunday, Brexit Secretary of State David Davis resigned, telling UK Prime Minister Theresa May that he did not want to be her "conscript."

Seehofer, who also heads the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party, recently made headlines after he threatened to resign over a migration dispute with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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