European media see rough Brexit ride ahead

Combo picture of screen-grabs from European media websites
Image caption European papers are largely dismayed by the Conservative Party Conference

European media comment this week focuses on the aftermath of the Conservative Party conference, with a consensus view that Prime Minister Theresa May's political honeymoon is over.

'Theresa May isolated'

Jochen Buchsteiner, writing from London for Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, says an "anti-May mutiny" broke out at the conference, with "even pro-Brexit Tories complaining about the 'hard Brexit' option".

He warns that a "potentially dangerous coalition" is building up against the prime minister, especially if the bid to challenge the binding nature of the referendum reaches the High Court.

French dailies are following the fluctuations of the British economy. Le Figaro highlights the fall in property prices in London, quoting expert opinion that the Brexit vote led to a "clear cooling in the market" and that much will depend on how "hard the talks to leave the EU are going to be".

Edouard Pflimlin, writing in Le Monde, explains away the 'flash crash' in the value of the pound on Asian exchanges, but warns that those Brexit talks are likely to be very hard, judging by the recent comments of EU leaders like French President Francois Hollande.

"This means uncertainty for years ahead. The pound has further to fall," he says.

'Goodbye, world!'

Home Secretary Amber Rudd's proposal at the Conservative Party conference that companies should be made to disclose what percentage of their workforce is non-British attracted a good deal of media criticism earlier in the week.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine expressed its concerns over the UK's "increasing anti-foreign and protectionist rhetoric" and described Ms Rudd's proposal as the "shrillest reaction… to the growing resentment against foreigners in Great Britain so far".

Image copyright Frankfurter Allgemeine
Image caption Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine is concerned about the UK's "anti-foreign rhetoric"

In an article entitled "Goodbye, world", another German paper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, observed that "this is not just about visas and fees. This is a new spirit since the Brexit vote".

The French business daily Les Echos said that the sense of outrage was so strong that the British government had been forced to row back on the proposal in a bid to put an end to the controversy. This was in reference to the British government's later statement suggesting that UK companies would not be told to list or name foreign workers they employ after all. 

Image copyright Les Echos
Image caption France's Les Echos: "London tries to dampen down the controversy"

Similarly, Belgium's RTL Info radio said that Britain had no choice but "to backpedal on the plan to list foreign workers".

'War against migrants'

Media in Eastern Europe were equally indignant in their condemnation of Ms Rudd's proposal, which Poland's TVN24 channel described as "controversial".

The Romanian paper Adevarul noted that "London is creating obstacles for foreign workers" and predicted "hard times for foreign students and doctors" in the UK. The website was even more blunt. "Brexit: London wages a war against migrants," it said.

Image copyright Adevarul
Image caption Romanian paper Adevarul foresees "hard times for foreign students and doctors in UK"

The Czech website warned that Ms Rudd's plan exposed "the ugly side of Britain".

Another Czech news website,, predicted that the proposed practices would "irreversibly damage the reputation of Britain as an open and liberal economy".

Image copyright Denik
Image caption Czech daily Denik warns that the proposed plan will damage Britain's reputation abroad

This view was echoed by the Hungarian news website Index, which said that "many people, including British employers, have baulked at Rudd's plans, and some are already saying that the government intends to make racism almost compulsory in Britain".

'Brexit spirit'

In Italy, the media have followed the government in objecting to some schools in England and Wales allowing children of Italian origin to define themselves as Neapolitan or Sicilian.

After the Italian embassy posted a Facebook demand for the "immediate removal of these categories" on the grounds that Italy has been a "unified country since 1861", Il Corriere della Sera asks whether it was a question of "ignorance or bad faith".

La Repubblica acknowledges the the Foreign Office apologised for the incident, but wonders whether, in the wake of the exclusion of non-British scholars from a government-sponsored Brexit project at the London School of Economics, "some British officials may be inspired by the Brexit spirit".

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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