European newspapers have been taking stock of Saturday’s drama at Westminster and Boris Johnson’s appeal to Brussels to block an extension to the Brexit deadline.
“The fight over Brexit will continue for even longer” declares Germany’s Die Zeit.
Italy’s Corriere della Sera believes “this unprecedented ‘game of two letters’ seriously embarrasses the EU: it will have to decide whether to give Britain an extension that parliament is asking for but the British government does not want”.
NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands says, “Saturday cannot be viewed as a failure for Johnson. It is likely that the 306 members of parliament who voted against the Letwin act will also support him next week.” Dutch De Volkskrant agrees: “It is understandable that there were cheers from the opposition benches and the thousands of anti-Brexit protesters in Parliament Square. But this could prove to be a pyrrhic victory.”
In France, Le Figaro says: “It should have been a day of clarification; it has been a moment of additional confusion. British MPs have added an incredible episode to the already lengthy Brexit series – by deciding not to decide anything.”
French liberal weekly Le Point notes: “And so, Boris Johnson is back at square one. We should soon know if his future at the head of the country is guaranteed until the general elections, for which he is the favourite, or whether he will have contented himself with running around in circles. Until then, the Brexit series continues.”
Spain’s El Mundo sees yesterday’s amendment vote as a “blow of enormous scale” to Mr Johnson, and “another unpredictable scenario of this labyrinth”. An editorial in the paper says “while parliament was trying to win time and narrow down the result of hard Brexit, over a million of protesters demanded another referendum at its doorstep. Political chaos and social discontent – the effects of populism.”
“House of Commons forces Johnson and EU into Brexit overtime” declares the headline in Austria’s Der Standard. Noting the police escorts for MPs, it says “The dark side of the Brexit debate appeared once again: polarisation and hatred for the opposite side”.
Meanwhile, an analysis on Germany’s centre-left news website Spiegel Online notes: “Just when you think it cannot get any crazier, the British parliament adds another thing: yet again, it has outmanoeuvred its own government. With that, Brexit, which was almost within reach, is uncertain again.”
“Only one thing can be said with certainty. It is far from being over,” the article says.