Another period of grace for Brexit

The EU member states have granted Britain a new extension until the end of October for Brexit. The majority wanted to extend the deadline until the end of the year but Paris insisted that the delay had to be as short as possible to avoid harming the functioning of the EU. Is the decision a relief or will it only prolong the torment of the Brexit drama?

Open/close all quotes
The Times (GB) /

Better than the chaos of no deal

The EU has made the right decision, says The Times:

“However destabilising the Brexit uncertainty has been so far, the fall-out from a chaotic no-deal will be far worse. Far from insulating itself from further Brexit instability, it would import that instability into its own inner counsels, not least in the form of the Irish problem. Moreover, there is no coherent response to those urgent EU challenges that doesn't hinge on a close partnership with Britain. A serious rupture might take years to repair. There is no guarantee that any extension will bring about a resolution to Britain's political crisis or lead to an orderly Brexit. The stakes are too high not to try.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Europe still in limbo

The postponement of Brexit until the end of October won't solve anything, Die Presse sighs:

“This delay neither allows enough time for a fundamental political realignment in the UK (either through early elections or a second referendum), nor gets around the fact that Brexit will continue to take up a large part of the attention and time of Europe's decision-makers. Does anyone seriously believe that all the summit meetings until that date will be Brexit-free? What's more, all the top posts in the Commission, the European Council, the European Parliament and European foreign policy are normally filled between July and October. During that entire period, however, the British will continue to be members, with all of the concomitant rights and obligations.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

France is weary of Brexit

Columnist Xenia Tourki explains in Phileleftheros why Paris wanted to prevent an extension of Brexit:

“France has always struggled with Britain's attempts to profit as much as possible from the European family, give little and keep its distance. The controversies between both countries have been big, even though their collaboration in many areas was seamless. The Brexit, however, caused new conflicts. London's indecision provoked anger in Paris, so that many observers came to see Macron as a new De Gaulle [who didn't want Britain in the EC]. ... France and the other member states are tired of the uncertainty. The blockade caused by Brexit must be ended so that the EU can finally concentrate on the serious problems it faces.”

L'Echo (BE) /

EU has more important things to do

The never-ending Brexit drama is draining the EU of energy, L'Echo groans:

“So much lost energy! Just a few weeks before the elections, the key sessions of the EU summit deal with nothing but Brexit. Social issues? Shelved. The completion of the Eurozone? Still in its infancy. At this special summit Europe's leaders simply looked exhausted. Exhausted by the topic, and by the inability of the British nationalists to bring their (non-)project to an end. With every passing day Brexit is sapping the European Union of its vital energy. It's high time for an electric shock! Let's hope that's what the elections will bring.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

May has no respite

The British prime minister has succeeded in averting a disorderly Brexit for now but her own position is very precarious, writes El Periódico de Catalunya:

“The new Brexit timetable doesn't improve the political prospects for May, whose future as prime minister is very uncertain. ... The Eurosceptics are reproaching her for having prolonged the process unnecessarily and see any postponement as a humiliation. The prime minister managed to survive the no-confidence vote a few months ago, but the indignation of various Brexiteer ministers could accelerate her fall. The wearing down of May's reputation is one of the costs of a process that is too uncertain and lacks a defined strategy.”