EU Commission angers London with Brexit plan

The EU has presented an initial draft treaty for Brexit. In order to settle the sensitive Irish border issue chief negotiator Michel Barnier proposes that Northern Ireland should remain in the customs union. Theresa May responded from London saying that no British prime minister could sign such a treaty. What to make of the EU initiative?

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De Telegraaf (NL) /

Pretty cheeky

De Telegraaf isn't surprised by British Prime Minister Theresa May's indignant reaction:

“The negotiators on both sides have no idea how to tackle the Northern Ireland border issue. Three months after reaching a vague agreement on a 'joint arrangement' the negotiators clearly haven't moved a step forward. ... The plan put forward by Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier is pretty cheeky. After all, he knows how sensitive the border issue is for the British. ... No one wants a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but there is no other solution in sight.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Necessary nudging towards compromises

The Irish Times, by contrast, praises the EU Commission's strategy:

“[The] commission - fully supported, it should be stressed, by the entire EU27 - is only forcing London to confront the contradictions of its own position and its failure to level with its own people. It is also seeking to apply some pressure at a time of growing European exasperation with the British government's failure to engage. The backstop is exactly that - it will only come into play if all else fails. By underlining to London how unattractive it looks, Brussels is nudging London closer to the compromises it must swallow if a comprehensive deal is to be agreed.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Charlatans in London refusing to tell the truth

The public radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk also can't understand why London is so indignant:

“The Commission is protecting the interests of an EU member, the Republic of Ireland. That is legitimate. The Commission wants to maintain the Good Friday Agreement, which put an end to the Irish Troubles. That shows a sense of responsibility. The Tory government, by contrast, lacks the courage to come clean with the British people. You can't have it both ways: it's either complete separation from the EU, including on matters of customs and trade. Or an Ireland without borders. Not telling the Brits this truth amounts to charlatanism - which London calls governing.”