Theresa May has been trying to spin her multiple humiliating Brexit climbdowns as good progress towards a have-your-cake-and-eat-it fantasy.
The PM claimed in a statement to Parliament today that there is a “new sense of optimism” around Brexit talks following the phase one agreement with the EU on Friday.
She told MPs: “It has required give and take for the UK and the EU to move forwards together. And that is what we have done.”
We thought we’d take a look at the European press to see if our continental neighbours felt the same sense of optimism as Theresa. And, actually, they do – but for very different reasons…
Le Monde – France
In an editorial entitled ‘Brexit – avantage Bruxelles’, France’s most respected daily said a “united and consistent EU” had “led London exactly where they wished” on every issue at stake.
It commends the work of EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and says Britain “under estimated the EU and over estimated the strength of their position.”
The Irish Times – Republic of Ireland
The Irish border was one of the three issues that the EU demanded must be resolved before trade talks began.
But it concludes: “Now London has provided one. Brexit is not a negotiation, it turns out, but a slow march towards British acceptance of the weakness of its own negotiating position.”
La Repubblica – Italy
Italy’s most read newspaper judged that the deal agreed by Theresa May on Friday put Britain on the path to a soft Brexit.
The paper’s Brussels’ correspondent concludes in the introduction of his report on the negotiations that, 549 days after the referendum result, Brexit supporters have accepted an “unconditional surrender”.
El Pais – Spain
The headline of an editorial in Spain’s biggest daily says the deal struck on Friday would mean a good Brexit – for the EU.
It says: “If the Parliamentarians and British citizens realise that the agreement will always be worse than what they already have, they will have a golden opportunity: to retire their leaders and stay in the Union, which is their natural home”.
Der Taggesspiegel – Germany
This German daily says the initial jubilation of Friday’s supposed breakthrough was cut short when Brexiteers read the small print of the deal.
“The closer they looked…the more their euphoria disappeared,” says the article.
In its editorial, the Die Welt national referred to Theresa May as “weakened” and said progress on Brexit has been so slow “even the smallest successful step seems like an act of liberation.”
de Volkstrankt – Netherlands
10-0 to the EU, that’s the headline of this Dutch newspaper’s report on Friday’s Brexit deal.
In another piece, they explain: “How the EU gained by far the most during Brexit negotiations.”
As Scrapbook said on Friday, if May’s capitulation over her red lines means a soft Brexit then her loss is our gain.
But it’s beyond cheek to try and pretend she arrived at this deal by design like she did in the Commons today.
The truth is that May is falling apart and Brexit is failing…