‘Sensational insinuation’, ‘dangerous rhetoric’: The European press on May’s speech

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Theresa May’s stinging remarks to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker may not have dominated the continental European press on Thursday as much as they did in the UK, but her words did not go unnoticed.

Here’s how Europe’s biggest daily journals covered the clash of words:

France’s Le Figaro says the “rhetoric between London and Brussels is rising dangerously…. ” adding:

Theresa May accused the Europeans of making “threats against Great Britain” with a “deliberate timing so as to influence the outcome of the election”. Just like that, Brussels is suspected of Putin-like tactics.

Le Monde, meanwhile, laments the poisonous atmosphere:

The size of the gulf between the firmness of the EU27 on Brexit and the idyllic vision that London has tried to paint has been obvious for weeks…The negotiations have not yet begun, but already the atmosphere between the UK and Brussels is noxious.

Italy’s La Repubblica says Mrs May’s comments amount to a “sensational insinuation”:

Theresa May has accused Europeans of plotting to make her lose the election – a sensational insinuation in which the British prime minister includes the EU negotiators and even the press on the continent… The impression that May has lost her head is legitimate…She is throwing away the mask and revealing what kind of leader she really is. The interior-minister of six years has been relatively protected from a close media examination. But now, in the electoral campaign, she is in the foreground. And she’s not cutting a great figure. Keep journalists away. Reject TV debates with opponents. Make repetitive remarks. It appears wooden, cold, uncomfortable, as revealed in the embarrassing photos in which she eats chips, the national dish.

In Spain, El Pais says the tone will be unhelpful for negotiations:

Against the minimum doses of realism and temperance necessary to face the difficult negotiation on the Brexit , Theresa May has opted for a leap into the dark that this Wednesday afternoon has translated into an unprecedented attack against “Brussels bureaucrats”, who she has accused of wanting to interfere in the upcoming UK general election.

And Germany’s FAZ also notes the unfriendly turn:

The tone in the Brexit talks is getting harder: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May points out that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will be the next one to find that she can be a “bloody difficult woman”.


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