Europe’s press watched on in horror as once-stable Britain was plunged into yet another political crisis over its relationship with the EU on Thursday.
The Irish Independent warned in a headline that “Brexit bedlam” had engulfed Theresa May, with “bruising attacks” against her from her own party over her deal.
The newspaper reported that “the British prime minister is battling to save her career” as “a string of her ministers jumped ship” in “a rapidly unfolding crisis”. Plans for no deal are continuing “unabated” in Dublin, it said.
In France, daily newspaper Le Figaro said Ms May’s Brexit is “hanging on a wire”, adding: “An end-of-reign atmosphere has taken hold of Westminster. But, like Queen Elizabeth, Theresa May does not abdicate.”
Italian newspaper la Repubblica, perhaps forgetting to check its calendar, branded Brexit “a midsummer night’s nightmare” in a comment piece. The outlet said the tale of Britain’s latest problem is an “extraordinarily complicated story”.
Rai, the Italian public broadcaster, said Theresa May suffered “the longest and most difficult day” of her premiership, partly at the hands of Jacob Rees-Mogg – “one of the most inflexible advocates of Brexit”.
But it said the PM’s “passionate intervention” at a press conference was “worth noting”.
German newspaper Die Welt said Britain has been plunged into a “deep political crisis” and that “Theresa May’s fate and that of Brexit itself are hanging by a thread”.
Meanwhile Die Zeit wearily noted that “the chaos that has been battling the British government since the Brexit treaty was published came as no surprise” on account of the fact that it “was in outline exactly what the hard Brexit supporters had rejected months ago”.
A comment piece in Die Presse, an Austrian newspaper, said that “the behaviour of chief Brexit negotiator Dominic Raab was particularly grotesque”.
The piece continued: “Can Mr Raab be asked whether he was present not only physically but also mentally in these negotiations with the representatives of the union? Or did he merely take up his role in the cynical calculation in order to be able to accelerate the overthrow of the prime minister from within?”
In Spain, El Mundo carried a piece admonishing Brexiteers, who it said “barely paused to consider that the British divorce threatens both the unity of the United Kingdom with the likely worsening of the problem of Scottish separatism and the fragile peace process in Northern Ireland”.
The Prime Minister now looks likely to face a no-confidence vote from her own party over the deal. Even if she survives, the parliamentary maths for the agreement passing looks, from her perspective, lamentable.
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