October 18, 2018 / 9:53 AM / a month ago

Please, no Brexit talk: Merkel, Macron hit the bar for beer and fries

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Belgium and Luxembourg surprised late-night drinkers by dropping by a Brussels bar for beer and fries after an evening of summitry on Brexit with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The German chancellor and French president chatted and shook hands with tourists and locals on the picturesque Grand Place with their local host, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and his Luxembourg neighbour Xavier Bettel, who said he bought the drinks to celebrate his re-election as premier on Sunday.

“It was very nice,” Bettel said on Thursday as he arrived for the second day of the summit, adding that “we are also humans” and it gave them a chance to catch up on business over Belgium’s famed bières et frites.

An aide to Macron said he and Merkel walked back together to their hotel from the summit and when they got there he got a text from Bettel inviting him round the corner for a drink: “It was totally spur of the moment,” the aide said. “Very relaxed.”

Earlier on Wednesday, EU leaders had listened to May assure them she was aiming to agree a deal to ease Britain out of the bloc in March. After she left, the remaining 27 discussed her problems in getting support for any deal within her own party.

A Croatian journalist who caught the four beer drinking leaders on camera tweeted that he spoke to a group of visitors who had a chat with Merkel. They asked her about Brexit.

“Please, it’s a wonderful evening,” she replied. “Let’s not spoil it.”

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald and Michel Rose; @macdonaldrtr; Editing by Peter Graff

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