German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer - Sean Gallup-Getty Images
Getty Images

The German government has taken the highly unusual step of distancing itself from Interior Minister Horst Seehofer over a letter he wrote to the European Commission regarding security following Brexit.

“The contents of the letter had not been agreed with the government and also contradicted in part the positions taken by the European Union and the German government,’’ Mr Seehofer said.

The letter is a sign of possible tensions under the surface, as the 27 EU member states remaining after Britain’s departure in March have sought to present a united front in dealing with London.

On June 27, the day before a highly visible EU summit on migration, Mr Seehofer said in the letter that it was not his intention to comment on the commission’s negotiations with Britain but added:

“I allow myself, however, as the interior minister of a European member state, to draw attention to the fact that the security of citizens must also be of the highest priority in the EU,’’ he noted.

Mr Seehofer’s choice of words recalled those of British Prime Minister Theresa May and fly in the face of firm EU policy to have a unified approach in dealing with the Brexit negotiations.

The view taken by EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is that cooperation on security issues between the EU and Britain cannot be as close post-Brexit as they are currently.

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