Monday

17th Jun 2019

EU 'too busy' to interfere in UK elections

  • The EU wants May to come back reinforced after the elections (Photo: Consilium)

The EU does not have time to interfere in the UK elections, said the European Commission after UK prime minister Theresa May accused EU officials of trying to "affect" the 8 June vote.

"We are not naive, we know that there is an election taking place in the UK, people get excited whenever we have elections," the European Commission's chief spokesperson, Margaritis Schinas, said on Thursday (4 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

But he denied the claims of vote-meddling.

"We here in Brussels, we are rather busy with our policy work. We have a lot to do on our plate," he said.

"We will not 'Brexitise' our work," he added, referring to the problem of Brexit overtaking too many of the EU's daily tasks. He added that "the 30-minute slot that we are going to devote to Brexit a week is up."

May said on Wednesday the Commission’s negotiating stance had hardened and that threats against Britain had been issued by European politicians, claiming that the attacks were timed deliberately to affect the result of the general election.

European Council chief Donald Tusk also tried to cool tempers.

The former Polish prime minister said on Thursday that exchanging accusations before negotiations begin would make the Brexit talks “impossible”.

“These negotiations are difficult as they are. If we start arguing before they even begin, they will become impossible. The stakes are too high to let our emotions get out of hand,” Tusk said.

“We need today discretion, moderation, mutual respect and a maximum of good will,” he said, recalling that the interests of millions of citizens were at stake.

At a separate event, the president of the European Parliament echoed the general sentiment in Brussels that a strong and fresh mandate for the UK government would help to achieve a Brexit deal.

Antonio Tajani, the president of the EU parliament, said that calling the election was a good decision for the UK and the EU.

"There [would be] stability in the UK, and it is better to have an interlocutor, who is not constantly looking for votes because they [already] had the election, to work towards a good solution," he said on Thursday.

Two weeks ago, the president of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, was criticised for congratulating Emmanuel Macron on his victory in the first round of the French elections.

May’s accusation of political meddling was not the first one levelled at Brussels in recent days.

The move was seen as favouring one candidate over the other before the final vote takes place this Sunday, and Juncker was criticised for trying to influence the poll.

The EU commission then denied interfering in the French vote.

Schinas at the time said that France is "one of the countries which incarnates and symbolises those values on which European integration is based", and that Juncker praised Macron because "he is the candidate who represents those values".

Barnier unveils EU's Brexit goals

Barnier to set out EU negotiating positions on citizens' rights, divorce costs, and Ireland in Brexit talks, amid a prickly atmosphere between London and Brussels.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Beware the pen of an Osborne scorned

For George Osborne, a former finance minister turned newspaper editor, restoring Britain’s liberal internationalism from a flicker to a flame would be a legacy worth having.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

Feature

'Swexit' off menu at election for first time in 24 years

The Swedish Left Party have abandoned euroscepticism to campaign on climate change - whilst the hard-right Sweden Democrats spy possibilities of a link up with Matteo Salvini of Italy and France's Marine Le Pen.

Opinion

Brexit vs Grexit: The six stages of losing to the EU

Theresa May's venture seems very similar to the attempt by Alexis Tsipras in 2015 to persuade Brussels to accept his terms for the bail out - a huge negotiation failure, presented to the public as the best possible deal.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us