How Europe reacted to Brexit deal defeat

2019-01-16 20:36

The EU and European governments warned on Tuesday that the British parliament's rejection of a Brexit deal heightened the risk of a disorderly withdrawal from the bloc.

Following are some of the key reactions to the vote, which saw MPs vote by a massive 432 to 202 votes against the agreement:

European Union

- "I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up," – European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

"The Withdrawal Agreement is a fair compromise and the best possible deal. It reduces the damage caused by Brexit for citizens and businesses across Europe. It is the only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

"The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom has increased with this evening's vote. While we do not want this to happen, the European Commission will continue its contingency work to help ensure the EU is fully prepared."

- "If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?" – EU Council president Donald Tusk, who added the remaining EU27 "will remain united".

- "It's now up to the British government to say what the next stage is. The EU will remain united and determined to find a deal." – The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Germany

- "This is a bitter day for Europe. We are well prepared – but a hard Brexit would be the least attractive choice, for the EU and GB (Great Britain)." – German Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

- "A hard Brexit will be the worst of all options." – Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right CDU party and her likely successor.

France

- "The pressure is mainly on them." – President Emmanuel Macron, referring to Britain.

The British people would be "the biggest losers" of a no-deal option, he said.

"Either way, we will have to negotiate a transition period with them because the British cannot afford to no longer have planes taking off or landing at home, and their supermarkets, as much as 70%, is supplied with (products) from continental Europe."

Ireland

"Regrettably, the outcome of tonight's vote increases the risk of a disorderly Brexit. Consequently, the government will continue to intensify preparations for such an outcome," government statement.

Austria

-"In any case, there will be no renegotiations on the withdrawal agreement." – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, in a tweet.

Spain

-"An unordered exit would be negative for the EU and catastrophic for the UK." – Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez.

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