Brexit Britain from Abroad: EU hints at "Exit from Brexit" But May Ploughs On

EU Leaves the Door Open

European leaders have a message for Britons reeling from a shock election result: All is forgiven if London wants to abandon its divorce from the European Union.

The sentiment, voiced by France’s president, Germany’s finance minister and a host of Brussels diplomats, comes after British voters quashed Prime Minister Theresa May’s dreams of a commanding majority — and a firmer hand — as she led her nation into Brexit talks. Instead, her Conservative Party lost its majority, and politicians in favor of closer ties to Europe appear ascendant just days before divorce negotiations are set to begin Monday.

May has already rejected the idea of an “exit from Brexit,” and there is little chance London will actually reverse course. But many British politicians see the results of the June 8 election as a signal that voters do not want the full split that May once proposed, but rather a gentler breakup that could leave strong trade ties in place.

Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post

Brexit is Dead

Great Britain may be an island, but economically it is the most interconnected country in Europe: The financial center in London, the country's carmakers, what's left of British industry and even the country's infrastructure. France delivers electricity, water sanitation facilities in southern England belong to Germans and large airports such as Heathrow are owned by Spaniards. One quarter of the doctors who keep afloat the NHS -- Britain's comparatively deficient health care system -- come from the Continent.

The promise of Brexit was steeped in ideology from the very beginning, a fairy tale based on dark chauvinism. The Spanish Armada, Napoleon, Hitler and now the Polish plumbers who allegedly push down wages -- when in reality they ensured that, after decades of lukewarmly dripping showers, the country's bathrooms gradually returned to functionality. Brexit was never a particularly good idea. Now, following the most recent election, Brexit is defunct. That, at least, is what a member of Theresa May's cabinet intimated last weekend. "In practical terms, Brexit is dead," an unnamed minister told the Financial Times.

Thomas Hüetlin, Der Spiegel 

May Must Apologise to Remainers

Yes, a political leader’s imperative is to win and retain power in order to implement party policy. But at this point, the Tory tendency signifies something a good deal worse than a tin ear.

It shows a leader and a party bereft of emotional intelligence. If your pig-headed, 14-year-old with the edgy boyfriend took the family car and crashed it into a wall, you would probably be teary eyed at her contrite apology and her promise to ditch the boyfriend and consult all round before indulging in any further japes with family property.

When May, a grown woman, did that to a country, she showed her contriteness by ditching the two chiefs of staff, implicitly admitting that she never knew or spoke her own mind, then promised to consult all round in future. The astounding thing is that it has worked for now with the Tory family. They banged enthusiastically on the tables for about 30 seconds before she opened her mouth at Monday’s meeting and a remainer to the left of the party was said to be “teary-eyed” as they expressed their renewed support for her.

A former minister was pleased to report she had “agreed to listen to all the wings of the party” on Brexit. Of the party, note.

Kathy Sheridan, The Irish Times

May Presses On, Macron Leaves Door Open

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has reassured French President Emmanuel Macron that the Brexit talks scheduled to start on June 19 will not be delayed.

Many European politicians had warned, after last week's disastrous general election for the UK's Conservative PM, that any further delay to the start of the talks risked their failure.

"I confirmed to President Macron," May said at a joint news conference with the French president, "that the timetable for the Brexit negotiation remains on course and will begin next week."

Macron struck a conciliatory tone, saying Britons could still change their minds on Brexit, although he warned it would be harder once exit talks began. 

"The door, of course, is still open as long as Brexit negotiations have not been concluded, but a sovereign decision to leave the EU has been taken, and I respect that decision," he said.  

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker advised the UK after its elections against delaying the start of the negotiations, adding that the EU was ready.

On Tuesday, Michel Barnier, the EC's chief Brexit negotiator, also urged for talks to start "very quickly" because "time is passing, and we have to work to the timeline fixed by the treaty", adding that he could not "negotiate with myself".

Barbara Tasch, Luxemburger Wort

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