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Body-language expert on Macron, Merkel and May's hushed EU Summit conversation

Body-language expert on Macron, Merkel and May's hushed EU Summit conversation
By Emma Beswick
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Brexit, migration, Turkey and Iran are all likely topics of conversation for these three


As EU leaders met for the two-day EU Summit in Brussels, three leaders, in particular, shared a whispered exchange in the corridor of the European Council building.

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, French President Emanuel Macron and British PM Theresa May looked to be engaged in an animated conversation, all three with furrowed brows gesturing to make their points.

The leaders started out covering their mouths to keep their conversation private from the convened press but later dropped their guards.

It’s anyone’s guess what the heads of state were discussing but with Britain’s divorce from the EU set to top agenda, this could certainly have been a cause for conversation.

Expert view

The most striking thing about the three leaders’ conversation is their closeness, which suggests a “conspiratorial link,” Psychology Professor Peter Bull from York University told Euronews.

Merkel and Macron both cover their mouth with their hand, which people often do when they are talking about something they feel they shouldn’t be talking about or they shouldn’t be saying, observed

Macron early on does a gesture where he has his left hand over his shoulder with his index finger and thumb slightly curled and the over the shoulder bit is as if he’s talking about someone else. Gives the feeling that they are very close and gives it again this conspiratorial feel.

He considers that May’s position on the sideline of the group and Merkel and Macron’s eye contact makes the British PM appear to be a “spectator”.

“Macron’s facial expression is quite interesting at the end of what May says because it’s kind of non-committal,” said Bull.

This lack of commitment in the French president’s body language doesn’t give the impression he’s agreeing with what she’s saying.

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