Europe's press fears Brexit 'mess' after High Court ruling

The British High Court decision is reflected on the front pages of German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera and French daily Les Echos.
Image caption Several papers feature the story on their front pages

European press commentators have been taken aback at the UK High Court's ruling that Parliament must be consulted on Brexit, with many predicting further uncertainty for the UK and the rest of Europe as a result.

The front page of Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has the headline "Storm over London", above a picture of a High Court judge with his wig flapping around in the air.

"Judges put the brakes on Brexit," reads a front-page headline in Italy's Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica has "Brexit: Surprise ruling", and French business paper Les Echos says "Brexit: London's dramatic turn of events".

Image caption "To Brexit or not to Brexit" (Blikk), "Is this the exit from Brexit" (Bild)

For Frankfurter Rundschau's London correspondent, Sebastian Border, the decision is "a heavy blow for May's government", and he sees the Brexit schedule "faltering".

The Hungarian tabloid Blikk believes the latest developments are worthy of Shakespeare, with the headline "To Brexit or not to Brexit, that is the question - parliament will decide".


French paper Les Echos, says Theresa May's government "hit an iceberg called the High Court of Justice". "Enough to sink the Brexit ship? Or just rock it slightly?" it wonders.

An article in German tabloid Bild shows a picture of a kissing couple bearing EU and Union Jack face-paint, along with the headline "Is this the exit from Brexit?"

But few commentators believe the ruling is likely to overturn June's referendum result.

Image copyright L'Express
Image caption "Brexit will have to wait a bit... but is still likely to happen," argues L'Express

L'Express describes the ruling as a "thunderbolt from across the Channel", but adds that although a delay is now likely, Brexit will still go ahead in the end.

In Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, London correspondent Leonardo Maisano, says the High Court "detonated a new bomb" under Brexit, but believes MPs will ultimately not go against the "popular will expressed in the referendum".

Instead, most think the ruling only complicates an already tricky situation even further.

Image copyright Die Zeit
Image caption "Here comes the big mess" - Die Zeit predicts a major "row" after the High Court ruling

"Here comes the big mess," declares a headline in Germany's Zeit, whose London correspondent, Sascha Zastiral, describes the ruling as "a severe setback" for Theresa May's Brexit plans.

France's Liberation sees the decision as "not a setback for Brexit, but a stinging rap on the knuckles" for the government.

In Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, London correspondent Marcus Theurer writes that this "bitter defeat" for the PM and Leavers will "poison the political debate" in the UK, and increase the "uncertainty around Brexit even further".

Spain's El Pais also highlights the unprecedented nature of the situation, which it says takes the country into "the tricky uncharted waters of Britain's unwritten constitution".

Italian paper Il Messaggero describes the ruling as "a spoke in the wheels of Brexit" and emphasises that it is hard to predict what will happen next, as we are now "in completely new territory".

"It is not by chance that Collins dictionary has chosen 'Brexit' as the word of the year," it concludes.

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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