While Britain hasn’t actually left Europe yet, British Prime Minister Theresa May already seems to be getting the cold shoulder from other heads of state. While the other 27 heads of state kissed, hugged and chatted in small groups at a key EU summit in Brussels, Mrs May was left in the awkward situation of having no one to talk to.
After fiddling with the cuffs on her jacket, while looking around for a conversation which she felt she could join in with, Mrs May finally gave up and simply took her seat at the table. To onlookers, it seemed to be a symbol of the problems Britain is facing after its decision to issue divorce proceedings against Europe during June’s referendum.
EU leaders have even banned Mrs May from attending a dinner so that they can discuss what their plans are for Brexit negotiations, without the British Prime Minister listening in. Rather than talking about Brexit at all, the session which Mrs May is attending will be talking about the migration crisis facing Europe.
Smooth and orderly
Mrs May, however, has said that she will be pushing for a “smooth and orderly Brexit,” which she says is in Britain’s and the rest of Europe’s interest. It comes after Sir Ivan Rogers, who is Britain’s ambassador to the EU, issued a stark warning that the Government may still be trying to finalise a trade deal with the EU in a decade’s time.
However, the Brexit Secretary David Davis has said that he is confident that a deal can be thrashed out within 18 months. Mrs May has not commented on the suggestion that it could actually take 10 years.
She said that she did not mind being excluded from the dinner later in the evening, given that it was only right EU leaders had the opportunity, just as Britain has, to prepare for the triggering of Article 50, which will start formal exit proceedings.