Brexit: EU grants extra time

The EU-27 have agreed to postpone Brexit, not by the three months Theresa May had requested but by just two weeks. Next week the British parliament is to vote a third time on the Brexit agreement. If it approves the deal the EU will grant a postponement until the European elections. The comments in the press are clear: it's all or nothing now.

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The Sun (GB) /

Better May's deal than no Brexit at all

The Brexit hardliners are putting the whole Brexit at stake, warns columnist Rod Liddle in The Sun:

“Some of the Brexiteers in Parliament think we might still be able to escape the EU with a No Deal, on World Trade Organisation terms. I think they are deluding themselves. Parliament, which is two to one in favour of NOT leaving the EU, simply will not let it happen. And the EU, desperate to retain its market for goods in the UK, will make sure it doesn’t happen, too. Our Brexiteers are right that Theresa May’s deal is awful. But if they get a chance to vote on it again, they should hold their noses and vote in favour.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Better a horrible end

The EU must avoid being infected by the British chaos, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warns:

“Because even worse than a disorderly Brexit would be an attempt to reach an amicable separation that would leave the EU institutionally paralysed and unable to act. It has already neglected too many other key political issues for too long. And the same goes for London. If the British parliament wants neither a disorderly exit nor an orderly exit on the basis of the deal already worked out, London should take back its exit declaration and consult the people once more. ... The EU, however, must respect the old motto: better a horrible end than neverending horror.”

The Irish Independent (IE) /

Ireland should stop insisting on backstop

If necessary Dublin should give up its insistence on the backstop solution for preventing a border in Ireland in order to secure the approval of the House of Commons for an orderly Brexit, The Irish Independent urges:

“If there is a no-deal Brexit, Ireland is very likely to suffer more than the UK economically, given its much greater dependence on trade, both with the UK and with the continent that moves through the British 'land bridge'. No deal would also bring an immediate Border crisis. This is something that the backstop was designed to avoid for all time. … Continuing to insist on a position that would lead to what it was designed to prevent would make no sense.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Brussels tired of May's little games

The Guardian can understand why Donald Tusk has made a short postponement of Brexit contingent on the House of Commons approving Theresa May's Brexit deal next week:

“This ultimatum expresses personal frustration with Mrs May in European capitals. EU leaders can follow UK news. They can see that the prime minister has no control over her party. They know that concessions are wasted on her because she feeds them to the insatiable beast of paranoid Euroscepticism, then comes back pleading for more. The EU made it clear that an article 50 extension should not be used by Mrs May to keep going round in the same familiar circles. But that is precisely what her letter promises. It requests permission to carry on playing a game that she has lost.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Fatal game with the Brexit time bomb

Theresa May is continuing her dangerous strategy of running down the clock with the Brexit postponement, Die Presse warns:

“The British can't stay longer than the end of June without appointing MEPs. And if the EU rejects May's request for postponement the prime minister also has the advantage - and the House of Commons would face the self-same dilemma. Because the Brexit time bomb has to be defused before 29 March so that Britain doesn't fly out of the EU with a big bang. With their backs to the wall a slim majority will vote for the existing deal, Theresa May reckons. The fact that the Brexit ultras are quite happy with this plan highlights how dangerous this strategy is. Because unlike May the anti-Europeans are counting on a slim majority voting against the deal.”

Público (PT) /

EU didn't even exist in 1604

Público finds it almost amusing that House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has come up with a rule that dates back to 1604 to block a third Brexit vote:

“The Brexit has achieved the feat of plunging a country that doesn't even have a constitution into a constitutional crisis. ... This raises the question: why should the EU contribute to solving this crisis when it's already clear that the reaction on the other side of the English Channel will only be to blame the EU one way or another. ... For the Eurosceptics the EU is made up of idiots and incompetents who either don't have a clue or are pursuing a clever Machiavellian strategy. ... But the EU really can't be accused of having written a rule that was already in the books of the British parliament 388 years before the EU was founded.”