UK, EU Get Contrasting Brexit Messages 01/18 06:19
LONDON (AP) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May's promise of a clean but
friendly exit from the European Union drew strikingly different responses
Wednesday: optimism in Britain, skepticism on the other side of the English
Buoyant British officials hailed May's aim of "a bold and ambitious free
trade agreement with the EU" alongside new trade deals between the U.K. and
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that
countries were "already queuing up" to make deals.
But European officials poured cold water on U.K. optimism about a smooth,
mutually beneficial Brexit.
European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said the "days of U.K.
cherry-picking and Europe a la carte are over."
Swedish EU Affairs Minister Ann Linde said May had made it "very clear that
she wants a very hard Brexit" and anticipated difficult negotiations ahead.
Uncertainty surrounds other aspects of May's speech --- including her
promise of a vote for Britain's Parliament on the deal struck with the EU.
May and Brexit Secretary David Davis both declined to answer outright when
asked what would happen if lawmakers rejected it.
"They won't vote it down," Davis told the BBC. "This negotiation will
Britain's mostly Euroskeptic newspapers, meanwhile, seized on May's
suggestion Britain could hurt the EU economically if the bloc imposed a
The Times of London headline said "give us fair deal or you'll be crushed,"
while the Daily Mirror summarized May's message as "give us a deal ... or we'll
European newspapers saw the speech as evidence of Britain turning inwards.
Germany's Die Welt ran the front-page headline "Little Britain." In a nod to
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Italy's La Repubblica said: "London gets its