As Britain softens its Brexit aims, E.U. leaders say their doors are still open

Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, 15.06.2017

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European leaders have a message for Britons reeling from a shock election result: All is forgiven if London wants to abandon its divorce from the European Union. [...]

That means that European leaders have remained firmly united on what their red lines are, even as attitudes appear to be softening on the British side. There has been no willingness to allow Britain full access to Europe’s single market unless it allows European workers access to Britain, for example.

“Even those on the E.U. side who are ready to be more accommodating are not willing to deviate from some of the red lines,” said Janis Emmanouilidis, director of studies at the European Policy Center, another Brussels-based think tank. “If you play by the rules, then we can find a compromise. If we can’t, then time is ticking.”

Even though most people in Europe hope that Britain will remain as close as possible to the E.U., Emmanouilidis said, few were taking pleasure in May’s troubles.

“Everyone is feeling that this is a mess,” he said. “If May had a big majority, then there would be a degree of clarity. Now there is none.”

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