Why can’t we get our heads around the fact that they do things differently across the Channel?
Jeremy Cliffe’s article reminds me of my experience working on the European mainland (“Britons don’t grasp the EU’s essential motivation – a quest for the quiet life”, Comment). Seen from the other side of the Channel, it was striking how differently world events were interpreted, significantly in France but also in the Low Countries and Germany. We British are still at fault after so many years of not understanding our neighbours. To send an ex-SAS man to negotiate a deal with the EU, appoint a clown as foreign secretary and a slightly lesser one as his successor tells us all we need to know.
I’d like to congratulate Jeremy Cliffe on his brilliant analysis of European mentality. As a German expat family, we have experienced five amazing years in the UK – with a view to return to Germany this summer. His analysis is the first that I’ve come across in all those years precisely pinpointing “continental feelings” about Europe. In discussions with friends here in the UK, we have tried to explain the “German” motivation for Europe but seem to struggle to achieve real understanding. I would wholeheartedly recommend Cliffe’s analysis to all MPs and the government, as they try to find a resolution in the negotiations with Brussels in the critical weeks ahead.
Knowle, Solihull, West Midlands