Prime Minister Rutte is expected to enjoy a special interest on Friday and Saturday, as he is seen as the informal leader of what has been described as “austerity.” But he and his colleagues will not be sitting in the usual chamber because it is not possible to keep a metre and a half away.
Doctor is present
He also has to do it with fewer officials. National delegations were reduced from 19 to six men. A mask must be worn for movements, especially when there is not enough distance. Rutte will certainly have one in Brussels, his spokesman assures. Only fresh air (no filtered) is blown around and a doctor is present should someone get sick. If the Prime Minister has a cough among the members, then he must not sit at the table.
Diplomats note that the summit will continue on Sunday, even if this is not the timetable. Given the great divisions, there is little hope of a deal. A possible additional summit could be planned by the end of this month, it is whispered.
Rutte, after Chancellor Merkel and The Most Experienced Hungarian Prime Minister Orban, will need all his political skills to achieve a good result at home.
One thing seems to be a prerequisite for this. Spaces for consultation in smaller circles, which are crucial for unravelling all political knots, are simply available. Video consulting really is a problem, sighs an insider. After all the endless preparatory work of his officials, it is now up to the political leader to “end it.”