The Luxembourg prime minister was accused of “not serving the European cause” and fuelling animosity with his desperate attempt to steal the show raising eyebrows across the Continent. Detractors said the bizarre solo press briefing, in front of a baying mob of anti-Brexit protesters, will do little for the UK and EU’s joint effort to reach a deal. It was also claimed the showboating leader was simply using Britain’s divorce to boost his own profile.
Norbert Rottgen, the head of the German parliament’s influential foreign affairs committee, warned the emotional outburst ignores the ongoing effort to avoid a no deal and could wreck future trade talks.
He said: “Xavier Bettel’s speech yesterday did not serve the European cause.
“His public venting ignored that a deal is still in everyone’s interest. Even without a deal there will be a post-Brexit life, which means that right now everyone needs to behave in a way that avoids animosity.”
Sources in Brussels claimed Mr Bettel’s antics would never be replicated by a senior leader, such as Germany’s Angela Merkel or France’s Emmanuel Macron, who have both welcomed Mr Johnson with open arms.
Xavier Bettel accused of increasing no-deal Brexit risk after showboating press performance (Image: GETTY•REUTERS)
One EU diplomat said: “I think leaders of bigger countries might not have chosen the Brexit negotiations as a platform to raise their own profile.”
A second source said: “It was discourteous of Bettel but a British prime minister as we once knew them would have braved it and probably even turned it to his advantage.”
Another added: “After all the talk about progress and landing zones coming from London over the last few days it was all rather underwhelming. Days like this propel the UK ever closer to the cliff edge.
“Given that the clock is ticking, this might actually be what some want in London.”
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