‘Painful intrusion of reality’: European press view on possible Brexit delay

A Brexit supporter outside parliament

After the chaos, contradictions and incompetence in the UK’s handling of Brexit, European media have spotted a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. On past form, of course, it will soon be extinguished, but the endgame seems – at least for now – to be approaching.

“At long last, MPs now have to decide where they stand,” said Die Zeit in Germany after the Commons voted in favour of a short extension to article 50 on Thursday evening, having earlier in the week rejected both Theresa May’s Brexit deal and no deal. “Empty promises to voters and pithy speeches in parliament will no longer cut it. The drama currently being played out in Westminster represents, at long last, the painful intrusion of reality into Britain’s Brexit debate.”

Party discipline had gone, arguments were mutating and majorities were switching, the paper said. “The real discussion about Brexit, the one that should have taken place over the past three years, is now under way and must be over in a matter of days. It is loud and it is painful, but it is bringing much-needed clarity.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reckoned the UK’s “battered prime minister may perhaps have slightly more reason for hope than before. Who knows, it could just be that the Brexit drama in London will come to an end soon after all.”

France’s Libération rejoiced that at long last one thing looked more or less likely: “Britain will not be leaving the EU on 29 March.” Except, it added, the country was traversing a period “so utterly extraordinary, so totally unprecedented, in which all the existing logic of votes and established political forces has been so completely overturned, that nothing, nothing at all, can any longer be predicted.”

May’s strategy was at least clear, Libération said: she would call a third vote on her deal…

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