Press "Enter" to skip to content

Macron to UK: You can’t hold us “hostage” to your political crisis



That doesn’t mean Theresa May can’t keep trying to do so. The UK PM announced a short while ago that she wants the EU to grant another extension to the Article 50 deadline in order to work with Jeremy Corbyn on a unity plan for Brexit. Yesterday’s failure of four indicative votes to commit Parliament to any specific Brexit strategy left Parliament with only the option of pressing May to get them more time from the EU. Don’t count on it, Emmanuel Macron responded this morning:

A long extension involving the participation of the UK in European elections and European institutions is far from evident and certainly not [to be taken] for granted.

Our priority shall be the good functioning of the EU and the single market. The EU cannot sustainably be the hostage to the solution to a political crisis in the UK.

We cannot spend the coming months sorting out yet again the terms of our divorce and dealing with the past. …

Should the United Kingdom be unable to – three years after the referendum – propose a solution backed by a majority, they will de facto have chosen for themselves to leave without a deal. We cannot avoid failure for them.

It’s the second time in ten days that Macron used a hostage metaphor in describing the UK’s political meltdown. That description has gathered momentum in the EU, which has prepared itself for a no-deal Brexit and has steeled its resolve on the May-EU Withdrawal Agreement as the only alternative. May herself in her announcement said the WA had to be the basis of any deal cut with Corbyn, which doesn’t sound too practical since Parliament has rejected the WA on three separate votes and Labour has almost entirely opposed it.

The EU remains adamant that the WA is the final word on a Brexit deal. “If the U.K. still wants to leave the EU in an orderly manner,” Michel Barnier warned, “this agreement, this treaty is and will be the only one.” A no-deal Brexit, Barnier lamented, looks increasingly like the only possible outcome: