Tuesday

12th Dec 2017

May accused of 'poisoning' EU talks

British prime minister Theresa May escalated the war of words with Brussels on Wednesday (3 May), as opponents accused her of trying to use Brexit to make political gains in the 8 June election.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon accused May of trying "to poison the well” of Brexit talks out of “narrow, partisan motives”.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Referring to May’s statement that an EU negotiating mandate, published on Wednesday, was designed to interfere in the British election, Sturgeon accused May of "an irresponsible, gratuitous attack on our European neighbours” for the sake of “narrow party political interests”.

"Insulting our neighbours simply makes the Brexit mountain much harder to climb,” Sturgeon said.

Jeremy Corbyn, the embattled opposition leader, who trails May by almost 20 percent in pre-election polls, accused her of "playing party games” with Brexit.

Emily Thornberry, Corbyn’s shadow foreign secretary, called May’s statement "preposterous, paranoid, and xenophobic”.

She likened the PM to a "hybrid of Richard Nixon and Cersei Lannister".

Nixon was a US president known for cynicism. Lannister is a power-hungry queen in a TV show called the Game of Thrones.

"Instead of alienating our European partners, and insulting them with these ludicrous accusations, she [may] should be working to build effective relationships and make meaningful progress,” Thornberry said.

Consequences

May noted on Wednesday that if the UK did not get the Brexit negotiations right "the consequences will be serious”.

"If we do not stand up and get this negotiation right we risk the secure and well-paid jobs we want for our children and our children’s children too," she said.

"If we don’t get the negotiation right, if we let the bureaucrats of Brussels run over us, we will lose the chance to build a fairer society with real opportunity for all,” she added.

She spoke a few hours after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, unveiled the bloc’s position for the talks.

“There will be consequences. Those who pretend or did pretend that you can leave the European Union and there are no consequences simply aren’t telling the truth,” Barnier said.

May accused the EU of interfering in the 8 June vote.

Timing

"The European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials,” she said.

“All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election that will take place on 8 June”, she added.

She accused “some in Brussels" of not wanting the talks to succeed or for Britain to prosper.

She also scolded the “continental media” for “misrepresenting" the UK’s position.

Her remark alluded to German newspaper FAZ, which reported that her dinner last week with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was a fiasco.

She warned on a previous occasion that she would be a “bloody difficult woman” for Juncker during the Brexit talks.

Juncker said on Wednesday: "I deeply respect the British prime minister. I like her as a person. I have noted she’s a tough lady. This is not for the future. This is a real-time description".

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.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Tories on manoeuvres, as Labour wakes from Brexit slumber

In Labour's programme for the June election, Jeremy Corbyn claims there will be no second EU referendum and promises a form of associate membership with the EU. For the moment, it’s as far as his party can go.

News in Brief

  1. EU bank delays gas pipeline decision
  2. Hungary's leftwing parties join Jobbik in anti-Orban protest
  3. Barnier: EU will not accept UK backtracking on Brexit deal
  4. Puigdemont to return to Catalonia if elected
  5. Commission approves EasyJet partial takeover of Air Berlin
  6. EU medical command centre due next year
  7. Auditors: EU 'green' farm payments fail ecology criteria
  8. Austria gas explosion creates Italian energy 'emergency'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Last chance for Poland to return property to its rightful owners
  2. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan
  3. Volkswagen tells EU: we will fail on our recall promise
  4. EU will not start Brexit future talks before March
  5. Bitcoin risky but 'limited phenomenon', says EU
  6. Panama Papers - start of sensible revolution in EU tax affairs?
  7. Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees
  8. New Polish PM brings same old government