The agreement between Theresa May and the European Union on Brexit was overwhelmingly rejected on Tuesday night by the British House of Commons – 432 deputies, including 118 conservatives voted against it, with only 202 MPs voting in favour of it. The vote has provoked numerous reactions throughout Europe, with the EU Member States sharing their concern about the “no deal” hypothesis and openly expressing their growing impatience with their British negotiating partners.
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council was the first leader to comment on the the vote, calling for a “positive solution”.
“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?” He asked.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged the UK to “clarify its intentions as soon as possible” after the rejection. The vote, he said, had increased the risk of a divorce without agreement. He said that even if the Commission did not want a divorce without agreement, the EU executive would “continue to prepare its emergency solution work to make sure that the EU” is “fully prepared” for the consequences of a hard Brexit.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that the British would be the first losers in a “no deal” scenario. Referring to a possible renegotiation of the deal Macron said “We will look into it, maybe we can improve one or two points, but not much because we were at the end of what we could do in the agreement and we are not going to try to solve a problem of British domestic policy,” he said.
German Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke on Tuesday of a “bitter day for Europe” after the rejection of the deal. “It’s a bitter day for Europe. We are ready. But a hard Brexit is the worst of all possibilities for the EU, but especially for the UK,” he said on Twitter.
The Irish government announced it will intensify its preparations for a Brexit without agreement. “Unfortunately, the result of tonight’s vote increases the risk of a messy Brexit. As a result, the government will continue to intensify preparations for such a result,” said the Dublin government in a statement, which also called on London to “resolve this impasse”.
“The agreement is the best possible and an unordered exit would be detrimental to the EU”, responded the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, while Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian Chancellor, ruled out any renegotiation of the agreement with the European Union, also expressing his regret at the outcome of the vote.