British MPs took part in two votes this week: one rejecting the deal negotiated by Theresa May and the EU and another rejecting a no deal, showing that despite three years having passed since Britain voted to leave the EU the country still can’t agree on what it wants.
While chaos reigns in Westminster, there appears to be little sympathy on this side of the Channel if views from a respected political commentator and France’s newspaper of reference Le Monde are anything to go by.
In an interview with L’Express newspaper
, seasoned political commentator Christophe Barbier argues that Brexit needs to happen for the good of Europe and the British need to accept the deal negotiated.
Meanwhile in an editorial in Le Monde
Britain is accused of acting “like a spoiled child” with the article going on to argue that the other EU Member States need to accept Brexit is happening (you can read an extract of the article below).
‘We don’t want the UK clinging to our ankles’:
Political commentator Christophe Barbier in L’Express
“The UK is struggling to find a way to leave, and leave it must — but it would be misleading to believe that Brexit is a dead end for the EU, on the contrary.
“We offered the British a well-balanced deal which is good for the EU and deals with the main problems such as the Irish border and severs a number of ties and it is now up to the British to accept it.
“If they do not, there are two solutions: there’s the hard Brexit which means that on March 29th, it’s all over. On March 29th if the UK leaves without a deal, then we should use our common sense which effectively means setting up borders.
“This will cut the island of Ireland in half which is a problem but it’s the UK’s problem which it will have to manage on its own.
“My position on Brexit is a hard one as I consider Brexit to be a good thing for the EU. It will help to rebuild a political Europe. We don’t want the UK clinging to our ankles, and have to drag it around with us anymore. March 29th has to be a clean cut.
“However, if that doesn’t happen, the UK has other solutions at hand. If the current government does not want yet another vote on the deal and to end up accepting some version of it, the country can call a general election. A new leadership would have the legitimacy to push through the deal, or decide not to. During that time, we could imagine a sort of Brexit reprieve – a bit like a suspended sentence.
“Few people in the EU however, share my opinion.
“Most European leaders want to find a way to make it possible to work with the UK, by allowing for certain concessions and helping the British to work towards a political solution.
“For some, this implies organising a new referendum which could lead to Brexit being cancelled all together. That would be a disaster.
“It would mean the UK has taken the EU for a ride in what will have been an extremely costly procedure for the EU in the long term and for which Europe would pay dearly on the global stage.
“It’s time for the EU to make a fresh start. And for this to happen, the British have to go. Let them go. There must be a way for the UK to understand this.
The distressing performance of Theresa May’s government, shaken on Tuesday (March 12th) by a second vote of no confidence in the divorce agreement it believed it had sealed with Brussels, is a dramatic display of London’s inability to move beyond its reputation of behaving like a spoiled child — something other European countries have become accustomed to.
From trying to reduce its share of the post-Brexit EU budget on refugees and not agreeing to join the Schengen zone, to the rejection of the euro, the British set themselves apart to the point that they believed, that after the divorce, they would be able to keep the advantages of the Union without the constraints.
The increase in the number of almost indestructible links has made the divorce terribly complicated. Having not explained to her fellow citizens that a clean break would be impossible, Theresa May finds herself at an impasse. But the 27 (other EU nations) are not responsible for the British trauma and the UK government’s inability to understand what’s happening beyond the Channel.
This is not a question of humiliating the British but it is up to them to assume the consequences of the separation. And to the other Member States to admit the appalling reality that Brexit is happening.
At the same time as many links as possible should be maintained without trying to hold on to a partner that has always been loved, but one that has decided to rebuild his life.