'EU cannot remain uncertain': Macron demands Brexit ‘rapid clarification’ after May resignation
Divided reactions to Theresa May’s long-expected resignation are coming in from around the world, with the principal concern being the state of Brexit negotiations as the timeframe to strike a deal dwindles rapidly.
May’s resignation as prime minister of the United Kingdom marked the end of her tenure and failure to negotiate a deal to depart the EU altogether, part of the reason her own exit is being met with mixed reactions.
While France’s Emmanuel Macron hailed May’s “courageous work” in attempting to negotiate Brexit, he quickly added that the “smooth functioning of the EU,” remained the priority, and that “rapid clarification” from London now is required.
It is too early to speculate on the consequences of this decision. The principles of the European Union will continue to apply, including the priority to preserve the smooth functioning of the EU, which requires a quick clarification. We cannot remain indefinitely uncertain on Brexit.
The French president has taken a hardline stance on the issue, pushing for the UK to make a timely leave in order to keep it from “polluting” the EU after the current October 31 cut-off date.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also chimed in, tweeting his hope that “reason will prevail in the UK” and that May’s successor “will see to an orderly Brexit.“
Spain was equally up in arms, with Madrid saying the resignation indicated that a hard Brexit would now be “near impossible to stop.” They are likely referring to the fact that if no divorce plan is put in place before the official October leave date, the UK will exit without negotiated terms. The bloc plans to discuss their next steps at the upcoming May 28 summit.
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Some EU envoys were peeved that Brexit drama would once again steal the show in Brussels, despite ongoing EU Commission elections. One diplomat reportedly told the Express that “It would seem the road to Calvary was significantly shorter.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson conveyed the German leader’s sentiments to the press, saying she “wishes to maintain close cooperation and a close relationship with the British government,” but declining to comment on how Brexit negotiations might be actually be affected. She only offered that “the development depends essentially on domestic political developments in Britain.“
Merkel also said that she and May had a “good and trusting” relationship, and that she “respects” the decision.
Opinions were also strong outside the EU. The Kremlin’s comments, for instance, were far less amicable than Merkel’s. “Regrettably, I cannot recall offhand any landmarks that might somehow illustrate a contribution to the development of bilateral relations between Russia and Britain,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “It is rather the other way round.”
He also tactfully stated that May’s premiership had marked a “very complicated period” in the countries’ relationship.
In her resignation speech, May said that she would stay in office until a successor is chosen by this July. This will give the UK’s new leader a short window to negotiate a deal before the October leave date.
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