Europe

UK, EU take contrasting messages from May's Brexit speech

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 file photo, a Union Jack flag and a European flag blow in the wind in front of the city hall in London. To kick off the formal process of pulling out of the bloc, Prime Minister Theresa May will have to trigger Article 50 of the EU Treaty, which will give both sides up to two years to agree to the terms of the divorce. May has said that she will start the process by the end of March - meaning that Britain can expect to be out of the EU by mid-2019. But many uncertainties about the withdrawal process remain because Article 50 has never been used before. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 file photo, a Union Jack flag and a European flag blow in the wind in front of the city hall in London. To kick off the formal process of pulling out of the bloc, Prime Minister Theresa May will have to trigger Article 50 of the EU Treaty, which will give both sides up to two years to agree to the terms of the divorce. May has said that she will start the process by the end of March - meaning that Britain can expect to be out of the EU by mid-2019. But many uncertainties about the withdrawal process remain because Article 50 has never been used before. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on leaving the European Union at Lancaster House in London, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool)

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on leaving the European Union at Lancaster House in London, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool)  (The Associated Press)

British Prime Minister Theresa May's promise of a clean but friendly exit from the European Union has drawn strikingly different responses on opposite sides of the English Channel.

May said Britain would seek close ties and free trade with the bloc once it leaves.

But U.K. newspapers seized on May's suggestion Britain could hurt the EU economically if the bloc imposed a punitive deal.

The Times of London headline on Wednesday said "give us fair deal or you'll be crushed," while the Daily Mirror said "give us a deal ... or we'll walk."

European newspapers saw the speech as evidence of Britain turning inwards.

Germany's Die Welt ran the front-page headline "Little Britain." In a nod to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Italy's La Repubblica said: "London gets its wall."