Fintan O’Toole: Hard Brexiteers think Germany will blink first

Delusion that EU’s fear of no-deal will allow renegotiation is likely to be obliterated by parliament

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney shakes hands with German foreign minister Heiko Maas at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney shakes hands with German foreign minister Heiko Maas at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Last week German foreign minister Heiko Maas made an unnecessary journey. He got up very early and flew to Dublin. At 9am he was in Dublin Castle to address the annual gathering of the Irish diplomatic corps. And at first, it seemed hard to understand why he had bothered. His speech began with a corny story that Simon Coveney had told him about how he and his siblings were in the middle of the ocean on a sailing trip.

As a joke they sent out a message that they were having a birthday party and all nearby ships were welcome to join. But, said Maas, a German yacht heard the words “Irish” and “party” and suddenly appeared alongside them, bringing a keg of beer.

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