Thu, Jul 14, 2016 - Page 7 News List

UK’s future relations with EU now up to May, Merkel

Reuters, BERLIN and BRUSSELS

“She won’t be an easy partner for the EU,” said the senior EU official, adding that May does not change her tune easily. “She’s been extremely consistent, very persistent.”

A quiet “remain” campaigner, May must now get the best terms she can. Her biggest task is to retain British access to the EU’s single market while restricting immigration from the bloc.

EU leaders said market access can come only with a commitment to the free movement of people — just what British voters rejected.

However, May has a record of negotiating compromises with the EU in such apparently black or white situations.

As home secretary, she opted back into a European arrest warrant system and cross-border information sharing despite Britain’s “opt out” on EU justice and home affairs policy.

In brokering those “opt-ins,” the senior EU official said: “She took a great part in the negotiations herself, she didn’t rely on officials ... She has very obvious negotiating skills.”

Those skills will be put to the test by Merkel, who on Monday said: “We will have difficult negotiations with Britain, it will not be easy.”

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