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Brussels watches Brexit drama - with popcorn

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:47s - Published < > Embed
Brussels watches Brexit drama - with popcorn

Brussels watches Brexit drama - with popcorn

As British lawmakers battle over the Brexit deal, in Brussels EU negotiators are left watching and waiting.

They're torn between Brexit boredom and a nagging concern that it's wasting time they could be spending on other European issues.

Alastair Macdonald and Lucy Fielder report.

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Brussels watches Brexit drama - with popcorn

EU negotiators are watching Britain's Brexit drama and "eating popcorn" -- one of them has joked.

Likening the UK's divorce from the EU to reality TV.

But as Reuters' Alastair Macdonald says, amusement masks concern.

SOUNDBITE (English) ALASTAIR MACDONALD, REUTERS BUREAU CHIEF IN BRUSSELS, SAYING: "The Europeans are somewhat frozen out of the Brexit talks at the moment, there isn't much for them to do, so they are watching and waiting, waiting for British Prime Minister Theresa May come back with some proposals.

In the meantime, they've been watching the difficulties she's having, they've been watching the House of Commons, the British parliament going through all sorts of historic contortions.

They do not want this show to go on." After all, EU lawmakers do have other stuff to be getting on with.

Like the EU parliament elections in May.

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned against "wasting time" as the EU tries to reshape the Eurozone, and to reform.

And then there's "Brexit boredom".

Just hours after Theresa May's deal was shot down in parliament, EU negotiator Michel Barnier told hundreds of empty seats at a Brexit debate... That all the EU can do is wait for Brits to make up their minds.

That could take a while.

SOUNDBITE (English) ALASTAIR MACDONALD, REUTERS BUREAU CHIEF IN BRUSSELS, SAYING: "They are very reluctant to see the Brexit process extended, they will do it, for a few weeks or months they tell us, if Britain just needs a little bit more time to tidy up loose ends, rather than a hard Brexit in March that would be difficult for everybody.

But the idea of this continuing for months and months, possibly another year, is one of the options for extending the process, makes people groan." Some European leaders are still reaching out to Britain, in the hope it'll change its mind.

We don't want you to go, is the view from Brussels.

But if you're going, then please just get on with it.




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