Setting the course before Brexit

Article published on June 14, 2017
Article published on June 14, 2017

British voters headed to the polls last week to elect a new parliament and by extension the leader who will negotiate the Brexit deal. Which leader did supporters of a soft Brexit choose?

A tactical vote against a hard Brexit - The Irish Times, Ireland

British Europhiles should vote for the centre-left candidate with the best prospects in their constituency, The Irish Times urges:

“The next general election had not been due until 2020, a year after the UK's scheduled departure from the EU, but voters now have the chance to slam on the brakes. It's true Labour has committed to following through with Brexit, but they are open to a 'softer' version. Were they to end up in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, they would almost certainly hold a second referendum on the final deal. That is why everyone against a hard Brexit should vote tactically for the candidate who is best-placed to beat the Tory in their constituency.” (07/06/2017)

Pro-Europeans need strong Tories - Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

Gazeta Wyborcza, by contrast, advises the pro-European camp to vote for the Tories:

“The issue now is whether they will gain an absolute majority - which is very likely - and how big that majority will be. Paradoxically a sweeping Tory victory would be better for the pro-European camp than a narrow victory - because such a victory would make May independent of the Eurosceptic hardliners in her party and give her more leeway in the negotiations with the EU. If May wins by a narrow margin the country will face laborious coalition negotiations and political chaos. Unless the Labour Party wins a sensational victory.” (08/06/17

May needs a good slap in the face - Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy

Failure at the polls might bring Theresa May to her senses on the Brexit, Il Sole 24 Ore writes hopefully:

“In the meantime Trump's silence in Brussels on Article 5 of the Nato Treaty not only throws into doubt Atlantic solidarity in the case of an attack on a Nato member, but has also besmirched the traditionally privileged British-American ties. And that's not all. Not only is the Brexit no longer greeted with enthusiasm in Washington, there is also no longer any talk of bilateral free trade agreements. ... While Merkel's Germany is calling on Europe to take its fate into its own hands, May's Britain is discovering that isolation wouldn't be all that wonderful. Will this be enough to bring about a change of heart? That would be the logical move. Only Brexit was never a well-considered, rational step, making it hard to turn back. But doubts are being voiced, and a resounding slap in the face for May could do more to make them heard.” (08/06/2017

Don't forget globalisation's losers - Berlingske, Denmark 

Europe's politicians must shape globalisation in a way that is beneficial to all, Berlingske urges on the morning of the British vote:

“If the right political conditions for historic growth are created, one can be sure that everyone - the economy, the people and the welfare state - will benefit from the blessings of globalisation. The anti-globalist stance that has influenced a string of elections in the West is not constructive. But those running for office would do well to recognise that globalism has also created losers, even if society as a whole has benefited. ... It's important that everyone, and not just Chinese workers and London bankers, should benefit. Otherwise the people - as the Brexit referendum showed - will vote with their thumbs down.” (08/06/17

Prime minister on the defensive - Deutschlandfunk, Germany

Theresa May will now be wondering whether the snap election really was a good idea, Deutschlandfunk suspects:

“Because the Brexit is not the most contentious topic in the parliamentary elections. There are three powerful issues that will influence the way people vote: Brexit, social policy and now also terrorism. … Clearly she was so fixated on the idea of being elected as a shining beacon capable of managing Brexit, the project of the century, that she has now ended up on the defensive on what, as former home secretary, is her very own domain. Prime Minister Theresa May got off to a good start and carefully steered British politics through the first storms after the referendum. But now that the country is experiencing one of its worst crises she unfortunately hasn't been able to maintain her poised stance.” (06/06/17

May has lost her room for manoeuvre - Kaleva, Finland 

Just like Cameron before the Brexit referendum May miscalculated her chances in the election, writes Kaleva:

“Once again a British prime minister has severely misjudged the situation with the decision to call the population to the polls. Like her predecessor David Cameron, who, confident of a victory, decided to hold the referendum on continued EU membership, May has seen her popularity wane in the same fateful way. … In the spring it looked like May would score a landslide victory. She had a lead of over 20 percentage points against her opponents. But then the Conservatives' lead began to shrink and the Labour Party started catching up. A narrow victory against Labour would be a major defeat for May. It would result in the two parties having almost equal power in domestic and foreign policy and dominate the Brexit negotiations.” (07/06/17

---

30 Countries, 300 Media Outlets, one press review. euro|topics presents the issues affecting Europe and reflects the continent's diverse opinions, ideas and moods.