Constructive or Brexit betrayal: Mixed reaction to Theresa May speech

With the fourth round of Brexit negotiations due to start on Monday, Theresa May’s Florence speech was intended to break the stalemate between Britain and the European Union.

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier praised the speech as “constructive” but asked for more detail.

Constructive #FlorenceSpeech by PM May; must be translated into negotiating positions to make meaningful progress https://t.co/fCfBrqNhAp— Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) 22 septembre 2017

But the head of the European Parliament’s biggest group, the centre-right European People’s Party, Manfred Weber, said May’s speech had brought no more clarity. 

“I am even more concerned now,“ he added.

In substance PM May is bringing no more clarity to London’s positions. I am even more concerned now. #florencespeech— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) 22 septembre 2017

Next week, French President Emmanuel Macron will announce his proposals for EU reforms, underscoring the bloc’s determination to press ahead with a closer union that excludes the UK

Hosting Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila on Friday, Macron said that in Brexit talks, rules on the settlement of European Union citizens, the financial terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc, and the question of Ireland must be clarified before other issues can be tackled.

Member of the European Parliament and former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage branded Mrs May’s speech part of “a Great Brexit betrayal”.

“Her vision is that we leave the European Union but we do so in name only,” he said.

“We stay part of all the current structures. What we do is we simply re-badge the status quo.

“I voted for us to be able to be competitive, to be global, to be free of European laws and she shows no desire or no vision to be the kind of leader we need to take us on to be a global trading nation.”

Me for Telegraph: Theresa May showed in Florence that all she wants is to appease the Brussels elite. https://t.co/7LYq0oYFIV— Nigel Farage (Nigel_Farage) 22 septembre 2017

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile said it sounded like the prime minister had listened to his Labour Party and its recommendation that the UK needs a transition on the same basic terms to provide stability for businesses and workers.

After Theresa_May’s #FlorenceSpeech, and 15 months since the EU referendum, the Tories are still no clearer about their plan for Brexit. pic.twitter.com/7ilFafOtzZ— Jeremy Corbyn (jeremycorbyn) 22 septembre 2017

with Reuters
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