EU 27 and London finalise their divorce

The EU heads of state and government gave the Brexit deal negotiated with Britain the green light on Sunday. Now it must gain the approval of the British and European parliaments. The politicians gathered in Brussels on the weekend displayed sadness, but also relief that an agreement had finally been reached after all the haggling. Is their solace justified?

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Večer (SI) /

Nothing has been clarified

Uncertainty prevails even after the approval of the Brexit agreement on the part of the EU, writes Večer:

“As with the past agreements, this one too will be based on the lowest common denominator and therefore leave more or less all the details still to be resolved. The uncertainty as to what comes after Brexit is by no means less today for the 27 EU states and the UK than it was before yesterday's approval. The lowest common denominator allows the leaders of the EU to interpret the agreement as they wish and adjust it to current political interests. Like the haggling that goes on at a bazaar.”

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

The beginning of the end?

According to Beda Romano, Brussels correspondent for Il Sole 24 Ore, things look grim for the EU:

“This was not a time for joy or celebration but a sad moment, a tragedy, said President Juncker at the press conference. This conceals the dreadful worry that the exit of the United Kingdom marks the beginning of the end for the EU. ... If that is the case the continent's future looks grim. It would run the risk of a return to the conflicts that plagued Europe across the centuries. This is why French President Emmanuel Macron explained that the Brexit must prompt the EU to re-orient itself.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Realisation comes too late

After this weekend things won't calm down in London, Hospodářské noviny suspects:

“Even after Brexit relations between the UK and the EU can remain friendly, but they won't improve. The supporters of a hard Brexit who reject the deal on the basis that the British will be worse off with it than they would if they stayed in the EU have realised this now. When a first-grade pupil understands that two plus two makes four, everyone is amazed. But if he doesn't understand this before his A levels he will disappoint. ... Now it's up to the MPs in the House of Commons to vote and assume the responsibility for the consequences. Neither of the two options will restore calm.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Iron consistency helped the EU

Brexit also has certain advantages for the EU, explains Die Presse:

“This is highlighted by the results of the latest Eurobarometer survey in September. Approval for the EU reached 62 percent - its highest level since 1992. ... Even Eurosceptic citizens, it seems, don't want their own country to experience the kind of chaos that has rocked the United Kingdom for the last two and a half years. And the times when populist parties tried to lure voters with promises to leave the EU are also over. ... On Brexit the EU has recently displayed iron consistency and unusual cohesion. Not once were the talks on the now concluded exit deal interrupted by calls from the capitals - apart from Spain's veto threat over Gibraltar. This hasn't made things any easier for the British, but it has enhanced the EU's reputation.”

Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Certainly not the promised new start

Although the otherwise so half-hearted EU has finally taken a firm stance on Britain and Italy, there's no cause for celebration, the taz writes:

“Rather there's good reason to mourn: about the divorce from Britain, which has now been finalised. About the loss of Italy, which has already quit the Union internally and has adopted a confrontation policy. And about the complete inability to press ahead with what was once described as a 'new start for Europe'. What's become of this fresh start that Chancellor Angela Merkel promised? Where are the new horizons that Emmanuel Macron evoked with such passion? There's no sign of it at all. Six months before the European elections it's all just about avoiding the worst.”