May Vows to be 'Bloody Difficult' as EU Slams UK Brexit Aims | NECN
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

May Vows to be 'Bloody Difficult' as EU Slams UK Brexit Aims

Formal Brexit negotiations won't start until after the U.K. election next month

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    May Vows to be 'Bloody Difficult' as EU Slams UK Brexit Aims
    Getty Images
    In this file photo, Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement to the nation in Downing Street on April 18, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.

    Britain and the European Union say they want an amicable divorce. But negotiations have not even started yet, and the sniping has already begun.

    Prime Minister Theresa May vowed Tuesday to be a "bloody difficult woman" in talks with the bloc, after EU officials accused the U.K. of failing to grasp the complexity of the task ahead.

    European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt, a master of the pointed political tweet, posted: "Any Brexit deal requires a strong & stable understanding of the complex issues involved. The clock is ticking — it's time to get real."

    Verhofstadt chose his words carefully: "Strong and stable" is May's campaign slogan as she seeks to win a bigger parliamentary majority in Britain's June 8 election.

    Man Hit By Bus, Flung Across Sidewalk Walks Away

    [NATL] Man Hit By Bus, Flung Across Sidewalk Walks Away

    A bus in Reading, England, swerved around a corner and hit a pedestrian on June 24, sending the man sliding across the pavement. The man stood up and walked into the Purple Turtle pub without major injuries.

    (Published Wednesday, June 28, 2017)

    Formal Brexit negotiations won't start until after the U.K. election next month. But already warm words from London and Brussels about partnership and friendship have given way to a steady drip of leaks, spin and barbed comments — evidence that the two sides' expectations are poles apart.

    Last week, May met European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for a working dinner, greeting him with a kiss at the door of 10 Downing St.

    May's office said afterward that the meeting had been constructive. Juncker called it "excellent," though he noted: "I have the impression sometimes that our British friends ... underestimate the technical difficulties we have to face."

    Protect Yourself From Lightning Strikes

    [NATL] Protect Yourself From Lightning Strikes

    Do you know how to stay safe when a thunderstorm hits? Learn what to do, and what not to do, to protect yourself when lightning strikes.

    (Published Wednesday, June 28, 2017)

    A far less diplomatic account was published by Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper. Its report on the meeting, credited to anonymous Commission sources, quoted Juncker as saying he left the dinner "10 times more skeptical than I was before" that negotiations will succeed.

    Downing St. said it "does not recognize" the paper's description of the meeting, and May dismissed the report as "Brussels gossip."

    May told the BBC on Tuesday that she was well prepared to stand up to hard bargaining from Brussels.

    "During the Conservative Party leadership campaign I was described by one of my colleagues as a 'bloody difficult woman,'" she said. "And I said at the time, the next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker."

    Asked whether Juncker had found it out yet, May changed the subject.

    The German report drew a furious flurry of reaction from both sides of Britain's EU divide. "May's outrage at EU's dirty tricks," said the Euroskeptic tabloid Daily Express. "Brussels twists knife on Brexit," was the front-page headline on London's more pro-EU Evening Standard.

    Tiger In Crimean Safari Park Gives Birth To 3 Cubs

    [NATL] Tiger In Crimean Safari Park Gives Birth To 3 Cubs

    Three Amur tiger cubs have been born at a Crimean safari park. The trio and their mother are doing well, according to park workers. The cubs were born on June 25 at Taigan Park in Belogorsk, which is home to around 50 tigers and lions.

    Amur tigers are an endangered subspecies - once found across Russia's Far East but driven to the brink of extinction by the 1940s.

    (Published Wednesday, June 28, 2017)

    Whether the leak is accurate or exaggerated, it's a sign the EU wants to let Britain know who is in the Brexit driving seat.

    "What makes the leak so powerful is that it confirms what a lot of people have been thinking," said Fredrik Erixon, director of Brussels-based think tank the European Centre for Political Economy.

    He said that many in Brussels believe Britain has an unrealistic expectation that it can retain much of its current access to the EU's single market once it leaves the bloc.

    Sanders Vs. Reporters Over Latest Fake News Tirade

    [NATL] Sanders Argues With Reporters Over Latest Fake News Tirade

    White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders displayed the administrations's antagonism against the media in heated exchanges with members of the White House press corp during the daily press briefing on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Sanders pointed to a retracted CNN story as basis of the White House's "frustration" and skepticism with ongoing coverage, while one reporter accused the White House of "inflammatory rhetoric."

    (Published Tuesday, June 27, 2017)

    "The type of agreement many people in London think is possible is simply not going to be possible," Erixon said.

    In a pointed show of unity, on Saturday, the 27 EU leaders adopted common negotiating principles for Brexit. They stressed that there will be no discussion of a future trade deal with Britain until major progress has been made on key issues, including the rights of EU citizens living in Britain (and Britons living elsewhere in the bloc), and the bill that Britain must pay to settle its commitments to the EU.

    Britain has long insisted that talks on the divorce agreement and the future relationship can run side by side.

    European Commission Hits Google With $2.7B Fine

    [NATL] European Commission Hits Google With $2.7B Fine

    European regulators have handed down a record-setting $2.7 billion fine against Google. The web browser's shopping service acted in an anti-competitive manner, the commission said. They are giving Google 90 days to stop its practice or it will face additional fines.

    (Published Tuesday, June 27, 2017)

    There's an even more profound difference between Britain and the bloc about what a good Brexit deal will look like. May says she wants "make a success" of Brexit, and is asking British voters to back her Conservative Party at the ballot box on June 8 and strengthen Britain's hand.

    In Tuesday's Western Morning News, May wrote that Britain needs unity of purpose to "get a deal that works in Britain's national interest."

    But it is in the EU's interest for the deal to leave Britain worse off than it was before, to emphasize the strength of the EU and deter other countries from following the U.K. out the door.

    Inmate Killed 4 Prisoners So He Would Get Death Row

    [NATL] Inmate Killed 4 Prisoners So He Would Get Death Row

    Facing life in prison and unable to kill himself, Denver Simmons came up with a plan to get on death row. In a chilling interview, he tells how he and another convicted murderer lured four prisoners into a cell and killed them.

    (Published Tuesday, June 27, 2017)

    "There is always a price, a cost, a consequence from quitting the Union," French President Francois Hollande said after the EU leaders' summit.