May says "won't let European Union bureaucrats wreck Brexit"

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 6, 2017

The landmark week began with a leaked account of a private dinner at Downing Street between May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, created to set the scene for Brexit negotiations, appeared in a German newspaper and potrayed the Prime Minister in an distinctly unfavorable light.

But are we already seeing the beginnings of the splintering that many expect will come?

Earlier the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said it had no opinion on May's accusation about meddling.

"The financial settlement is only about settling the accounts", Mr Barnier told a news conference as he unveiled his proposed negotiating mandate for two years of talks.

His dig at the United Kingdom came after European Council president Donald Tusk appealed for calm following an angry spat that saw Theresa May accuse some in the EU of seeking to influence the result of the UK's General Election.

May noted on Wednesday that if the United Kingdom did not get the Brexit negotiations right "the consequences will be serious".

From across the channel, they see impractical expectations and false assumptions here, notably over how the Brits seem to expect to retain many rights and privileges after leaving, outlining negotiating "red lines" accordingly.

The initial estimation, reports Reuters, was 60 billion euros as set out by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Mr Juncker said the European Union "has some weaknesses which can partly explain the outcome of the referendum in the UK".

"Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe and also because France has an election", he said, explaining his choice of French.

Tony Inch has taken Bideford West and Hartland in Torridge for the Conservatives
Tony Inch has taken Bideford West and Hartland in Torridge for the Conservatives

Interestingly, Mr Juncker's Brexit subordinate, Michel Barnier, speaking at the same conference in Italy, seemed largely to adopt Mr Tusk's moderate tone.

"Insulting our neighbours simply makes the Brexit mountain much harder to climb", Sturgeon said.

And even though Britain signed up to the EU's seven-year budget plan that ends in 2020, Brussels did not originally demand that London provides funding for annual budget outlays after Brexit.

Besides money, the cohesion of the West and the fate of an estimated 3 million European Union nationals living in Britain and some 1.2 million Britons residing in other European Union countries is at stake.

Davis said he wanted a generous settlement that would mean European Union migrants enjoy "pretty much exactly what they enjoy now".

In Brussels, Barnier refused to give an overall figure but said there was "no punishment" for Britain.

The results suggest May is on course for a strong victory in next month's hastily called general election.

He ended it with a personal reflection that would seem closer to Mr Tusk's calm, polite tone than to that of his boss, Mr Juncker.

"I don't think one needs to extrapolate from that and reach dramatic conclusions". "In mutual respect and find solutions together".

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