Thursday, October 27, 2016

A handy guide for the British prime minister and her team – just in case they need to conduct Brexit negotiations in French

French minister Michel Barnier
 The French minister Michel Barnier, who will lead the European commission’s Brexit talks. Photograph: Laurent Dubrule/Reuters

Michel Barnier, the Brussels veteran and former French minister who will lead Brexit talks for the commission, has promised the choice of language has not yet been made. Theresa May has insisted it will not be French.
But with Europe, you never know. So in the sincere hope that negotiations will advance without linguistic hiccup, we offer – just in case – a few French phrases that the prime minister and her team may find useful. 
Brexit means Brexit. How many times do I have to say it?
Le Brexit, combien de fois faut-il le répéter, veut dire le Brexit.
Can I interest you in a some tea and biscuits? I also have some very innovative jamto sell you. 
Seriez-vous tenté par une tasse de thé et des petits gâteaux? J’ai aussi une confiture très innovatrice à vous proposer.

Yes, they’re kitten heels. Can we get back to the point please? 
Oui, ce sont des talons bobines. Maintenant, pour revenir au sujet …

But you know we love your German cars, your Italian bubbly, your French cheese … We buy so much! Does that count for nothing?
Mais comme vous le savez, nous les Anglais on adore vos berlines allemandes, votre Prosecco italien, vos fromages français. On en achète des tonnes! Tout ça, ça ne compte pour rien?
I really must apologise for the behaviour of my foreign secretary. Je dois platement m’excuser pour le comportement de mon ministre des affaires étrangères.
Brexit means we are leaving the European Union. What else do you really need to know? 
Le Brexit, ça veut dire que l’on quitte l’Union Européenne. Qu’est-ce que vous voulez savoir de plus, franchement?
Ah, I see. You mean you really meant it about freedom of movement. 
Ah, je comprends ... Pour la libre circulation, alors, ce n’était pas une blague?
Could you say that again? I’m not sure my trade secretary understood.
Pourriez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît? Je ne suis pas tout à fait sûre que mon ministre du commerce international a tout compris.
But I was assured you would give us a “jumbo deal”. A golden future, they said. Has this all been a terrible misunderstanding?
Mais on m’avait assuré que vous alliez nous proposer un deal énorme – un avenir des plus prometteurs, m’a t-on-dit. Vous voulez dire que tout cela n’a été qu’un malentendu atroce?
Merde, alors.

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