Britain’s newspapers aren’t happy at yesterday’s High Court ruling that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without the say-so of Parliament. And the news isn’t going down well in Europe either. There are fears that a Brexit hold-up could have ramifications on the continent. In the days after the referendum, European leaders were quick to call for a speedy Brexit. Now there are worries that a delay in the British courts could make that impossible – spelling trouble for a European Union which, for the large part, wants to get Brexit over and done with. Here’s how the European press has reacted to yesterday’s decision:
In France, Le Monde says the ruling that Parliament must begin Britain’s exit from the EU is a ‘severe affront’ to Theresa May, warning that it could weaken her position in negotiations with the EU. The newspaper also suggests there’s a possibility things could get worse, pointing out the fact the European Court of Justice could eventually be forced to rule on the Article 50 row. But diplomatic expert John Pedler asks in Le Monde whether this latest hitch means Brexit is inevitable after all. Pedler points out that only 37 per cent of registered voters in Britain backed Brexit and says the referendum itself was marred by ‘gross incompetence’ – drawing the conclusion that Brexit might not be a foregone conclusion. Libération plays down the prospect of Parliament blocking Brexit for long. But the paper says without a majority in the House of Lords, Theresa May will still face some delays to her Brexit timetable.
Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine warns that delays to Britain’s exit from the EU will lead to economic and political uncertainty. The newspaper says this is a hold-up of Theresa May’s making – pointing out that she was wrong to try and place herself as the ‘sole executioner of the people’s will’. The paper also draws a wider lesson for world leaders from yesterday’s High Court decision, saying it shows that referendums don’t always solve the pressing political issues of the day.