The Prime Minister And The Juncker: A Chronicle After Kleist

Every story has already been told, and so it is for Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, who recently endured a dinner with the terrible Juncker, European Commission President Jean-Claude. The following account serves as a warning should the EU continue to obfuscate and prevent the Prime Minister from getting precisely her own way:

‘About the beginning of the twenty-first century there lived beside the banks of the River Thames a Prime Minister called Theresa May, the daughter of a vicar, who was one of the most honourable as well as one of the most terrible women of her age. Until her sixtieth year this extraordinary woman could have been considered a paragon of civil virtues. In a parliament which still bears her image she owned a majority which allowed her to peacefully earn a living and ply her trade; with her husband she bore no children, but in the fear of God she continued to be hard-working; she had not one citizen who was not indebted to her generosity or fair-mindedness; in short, the world would have had cause to revere her memory, had she not pursued one of her virtues to excess. But her sense of justice made her a robber and a murderer.

One day she was riding towards Brussels with a string of fledgeling Brexit proposals, all of them well nourished and with glossy coats. She was just considering how she would invest the profit she hoped to make from them at the markets – partly, as a wise businesswoman does, to yield fresh profit, but also partly for the electoral benefit – when she reached the Berlaymont building and, opposite the magnificent Schuman roundabout at Wetstraat 200 Rue de la Loi, encountered a bureaucrat whom she had never witnessed before.

Just as it was beginning to pour with rain she stopped her car and called to the bureaucrat, who soon poked a sullen face out of the window. ‘Who are you?’ she asked when the bureaucrat finally emerged from the building. ‘A European Union bureaucrat, powers conferred by Jean-Claude Juncker,’ said the latter, holding open the revolving door. ‘I see,’ said May, ‘the Juncker is European Commission President isn’t he?’ and stared at the building, whose gleaming turrets look out across the city.

But hardly had she passed into the building when someone cried out: ‘Stop there, Prime Minister!’ and she saw the Juncker come hurrying towards her. ‘Well, what’s going on here?’ May asked herself as she drew to a halt. The Juncker, still fastening a waistcoat across his capacious body, came up and demanded that she pay her European Union exit bill. ‘My exit bill?’ asked May and added, a little disconcerted, that so far as she knew she did not possess one, but that if the Juncker would kindly explain what on earth such a thing was she might possibly have some small change. The Juncker, looking askance at her, replied that without her exit bill she could not be allowed to discuss her Brexit proposals, especially those concerning the matter of trade.

The Prime Minister assured him that she could trade without any exit bill; that she was accurately informed about all the regulations governing the World Trade Organisation; that there must have been a mistake, on which would he be so good as to reflect, and that since they had many of her proposals to discuss that day, she did not wish for them to be detained pointlessly any longer. But the Juncker retorted that an exit bill must be paid, that the invocation of Article 50 entailed a financial settlement, and that she must stump up on the spot or at least agree to pay in the near future. Instead the Prime Minister, now in a state of agitation, left Brussels on the next flight and returned whence she came.

As the two-year negotiation period neared its close still without a satisfactory trade deal, May assaulted the Berlaymont building with her handful of men, riding down the civil servants and commissioners who were standing in conversation in the lobby. They set fire to every office in the edifice, and as these burst into flames May rushed to the thirteenth floor to find the Juncker, while David Davis dashed up a staircase and fell cut and thrust upon a couple of bureaucrats, who were sitting half undressed filing papers together. It was as if the avenging angel of heaven had descended on the place. The Juncker, amid much laughter, was in the act of reading aloud to a gathering of friends an edict issued to him by the Prime Minster: but no sooner had he heard the latter’s voice in the corridor than, turning white as a sheet, he cried out to the company: ‘Brothers, save yourselves!’ and vanished. But May found him in an antechamber, and seized the very same Jean-Claude Juncker, as he came towards her, by the jerkin and hurled him into a corner, dashing his brains out against the stones.’