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Mark Francois denies that relations with Angela Merkel's CDU are strained

Mark Francois The BBC is running a story - due to be covered with an item on Radio 4's World at One - suggesting that Angela Merkel's CDU has "downgraded" relations with the Conservative Party. The report on the website states that joint policy groups have been "scrapped" and goes on to quote a CDU MP who was clearly miffed that the Tories have left the EPP in Brussels.

Mark Francois, the shadow Europe minister, tells me that the BBC report is a misrepresentation of the facts:

"The policy groups have not been scrapped; they were always planned as a finite exercise and that exercise was completed when the three groups on competitiveness, the environment and international security and terrorism produced their reports. So their work has not suddenly been discontinued - it was already complete."

Mr Francois added that the party continued to have good relations with the CDU, with David Cameron having met with Angela Merkel on several occasions and the Tories having happily congratulated her on her recent election victory.

Jonathan Isaby


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