Theresa May has been accused of making a stronger case for remaining in the European Union than leaving it with her high profile Brexit speech.
In her much-hyped appearance in Florence on Friday afternoon, May confirmed she wants the UK be given a two-year transition period after it leaves EU, meaning nothing will really be happening for at least another four years.
The Prime Minister also talked about forming a new partnership with the EU “that can stand strongly together in the world” and said she wants the UK to be the “strongest friend and partner” in the future.
However, many people have pointed out that the UK and the EU did used to be close partners. They were, if you will, in a union.
As she listed some of the things the UK wanted from the negotiations - guarantees of EU nationals’ rights, no physical border in Northern Ireland as well as the promise to pay the so-called Brexit bill - many people began asking questions about why the UK is leaving in the first place.
Other online critics slammed the speech for seeming desperate and for managing to say “practically nothing”.
Many other commentators were sent to sleep by the whole thing.
At least Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has been dogged with rumours that he could quit in protest at her approach to Brexit, tweeted that it was “positive, optimistic and dynamic”.
Italian State Secretary For European Affairs Sandro Gozi told HuffPost Italy: “It was a useful speech that takes steps forward on citizens’ rights and jurisdiction of the court of justice, good on the transition period that might help the financial negotiations, on which there’s finally an opening.
“We share the hope for a strong ambitious partnership on commerce and security. Now let’s see how this speech will translate in the negotiations next week.”
The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier described May’s speech as “constructive”, and said she showed “a willingness to move forward”.