UK ‘talking to itself over Brexit,’ French ambassador jibes

UK ‘talking to itself over Brexit,’ French ambassador jibes
Britain is “talking to itself” over Brexit and should spend more time listening to the EU, the outgoing French ambassador to London has said, while suggesting European leaders are more interested in issues other than the divorce.

Sylvie Bermann, who is ending her term after three years, also jibed that when she took on her job in 2014, Britain was a “secure and stable” country but things were “a bit different now.”

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Bermann said Britain appeared to be “talking to themselves” a lot.

“I think it is very important that they also listen to the 27. The situation is very complex … in this country you are talking from morning to night about Brexit.

“That is not the case in the EU. There is a discrepancy. I think it is important to have in mind others’ position.”

The comments are likely to ramp up tensions over Brexit amid a war of words between the two sides.

Last week, Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said the EU had “bent over backwards” for Britain, shooting down David Davis’s claims that Brussels’ approach to the talks are inflexible. He also claimed Britain is “not negotiating seriously” as the stand-off over the divorce bill intensified.

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker lambasted Britain over its preparation for the negotiations, saying none of its position papers are satisfactory. He said there is still an “enormous” number of issues to be settled.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May has defended moves to restrict EU migration after Brexit, as leaked government documents reveal a planned crackdown on unskilled European migrants.

The government’s proposals drew criticism from some Labour MPs, with one calling the plan “plainly cruel.” Some business associations worried about the possible impact on industries that are especially reliant on migrant workers, such as catering and retail.

May told the Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) that immigration to the country had been good overall, but people want to see tighter controls on migrants with Brexit.