European leaders’ beer summit as Britain dines alone

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at a summit in Brussels on Wednesday — later they would go out for a beer and chips (AFP (AFP pic)

BRUSSELS: Theresa May knew even before she got to Brussels that she wouldn’t be invited to dinner with her European opposite numbers, who wanted to discuss her Brexit plan without her.

But the British premier can’t have known, as she returned to the British residence, that she’d also miss out when four colleagues went on an impromptu trip to the pub for beer and chips.

After Wednesday night’s inconclusive Brexit dinner, French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel walked back to their hotel together.

After a leisurely 25-minute stroll through Brussels’ old town, Macron received a text message from Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, “Come and join us.”

A few minutes later Macron, Merkel, Bettel and Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel were sat round a convivial table on the city’s Grand-Place, beers in hand.

No reporters had been invited to the apparently spontaneous get-together, but a passing journalist snapped a mobile phone shot that quickly sped around Twitter.

“We had a drink between colleagues last night, a beer. And chips, because we’re in Brussels. It was very nice,” confirmed Bettel as he arrived at the summit venue on Thursday.

The Luxembourg leader confirmed that the four pals had reviewed the political events of the day, but that they were also just happy to relax together and have a chat.

“And I paid, because of last Sunday’s election, if you want to know everything,” he added. Bettel’s party performed well enough in the poll that he has renewed his governing coalition.