Last week's dinner between the UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was expected to be a productive and positive meeting regarding the UK's Brexit from the European Union. But unfortunately it was anything but. But the questions to ask are, why? What went wrong and what does it mean going forwards?

Looking back

Theresa May met with Jean-Claude Juncker last Wednesday (26th April) to discuss the Brexit process. It was hoped that the meeting would be positive and as stated before, productive. And after the dinner itself, it was seen to be that that was the case. The Telegraph newspaper reported that on leaving #Downing Street after dinner that Juncker and his team "appeared to be in good spirits".

Advertisements
Advertisements

Brussels went further to state that the meeting was "constructive".

Problems emerging

However, things were about to change drastically. Last Sunday (30th April) a wildly different version of events emerged in a German newspaper, in which Juncker "launched a scathing attack" on May. It was reported that he not only stated that Brexit "cannot be a success" but that he was leaving Downing Street "10 times more sceptical". Further on from this the Express newspaper reported that Juncker had called German Chancellor Angela Merkel to state that PM May is "living in another galaxy".

From where though?

The first question to ask is, why was Theresa May seen to be from 'another galaxy'? The main issue arises from Britain's attempt to leave the EU and the sticking points that come with that. What May clearly wants is a smooth exit and if possible, on her terms.

Advertisements

In the past there have been problems also. Not only did Theresa May want a quick Brexit but she also wanted to negotiate trade deals as part of the negotiation talks. However this was strongly rejected by the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, who made the point that Britain would have to meet their "financial liabilities" first of all, according to the Guardian newspaper. Barnier went on to state that "we must settle the accounts". It is this point that has caused the most problems; the 'divorce bill'. As stated on the BBC website, it has emerged that the amount of money needed to leave the EU was 100bn-euro, a figure increased from what was originally 60bn-euro. It is something that has caused anger and disbelief with the UK government. The Brexit Secretary, David Davis stated that the UK would pay what was legally due and "not just what the EU wants".

Fighting back

As a result of the fallout and subsequent comments, the UK were back on the attack as a result, especially from Theresa May.

Advertisements

The PM not only stated that she will be a "bloody difficult woman", as the Politico website reports, but also stated that those in Europe were trying to influence the outcome of the UK general election. This response was widely rejected by the EU Council chief Donald Tusk, who stated that "these negotiations are difficult enough as they are".

The future

Going forward, how will things pan out? It is going to be a long and difficult process. It is clear that the EU are hurting by the UK's decision to leave the #European Union. It has hurt their pride that not everybody wants to align with them. It is because of this, I believe, that those in the EU will make this as drawn out a process as possible, and most importantly, will not give in an inch to what the UK wants. Further on from this, I do not understand the reason why what happened at the dinner between May and Juncker was made public. It is embarrassing on the part of the EU. And the divorce bill? 100bn-euro? It is an absurd amount but further points to the fact that the EU will try to manipulate the situation as much as possible as a result. It is going to be a difficult Brexit process; we just need the parties to work together to arrive at the best possible situation.