Tuesday

5th Jul 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

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.

Opinion

Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways

For the most part Nato and its 30 leaders rose to the occasion — but it wasn't without room for improvement. The lesson remains that Nato still doesn't know how or want to hold allies accountable for disruptive behaviour.

Column

One rubicon after another

We realise that we are living in one of those key moments in history, with events unfolding exactly the way Swiss art historian Jacob Burckhardt describes them: a sudden crisis, rushing everything into overdrive.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  2. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  3. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  4. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  5. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  6. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  7. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  8. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us