THE fog of Brexit hangs heavy over the affairs of the UK and the Prime Minister’s latest sortie to Brussels has done little to distract from the fact that her focus is on solving the problems within her own party rather than achieving a respectable or sensible agreement for the country.

During the EU grilling of her amended deal, May reportedly, astonishingly, reverted to her tried, trusted and increasingly tired go-to phrase: “Brexit means Brexit.” Widely regarded as a premier on the run, there is no question that she is running out of ploys to plug the holes in her sinking ship.

READ MORE: SNP and opposition parties launch new bid for Parliament Brexit talks​

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker appeared to deny the Prime Minister’s accusation that he called her “nebulous”, yet it is perhaps an appropriate word to describe the situation viewed by many as becoming more farcical by the day.  

Making sense of Brexit from within Britain is made difficult by the maelstrom of bitter division at its heart. From afar, the views from supporters of the European project present an interesting collection of voices united by a collective sense of shock and bewilderment.

Members of the European Parliament and commentators from across the continent and the political landscape issued a collective rebuke of Brexit and formed a Euro phalanx in their consensus that the Tory Government’s inner turmoil and broken promises mark the UK’s spectacular fall from grace from being a key player to the has-been of European diplomacy.

Another reality is that Brexit limbo has dragged on for so long that it no longer dominates the headlines in Europe. The focus, it seems, has begun to turn to the upcoming European Parliament elections in May, where the rise of populist movements could be a threat to the current hierarchy.  

READ MORE: The Tories are making the case for independence

However, there also exists a shared awareness that Scotland has fought hard to distinguish itself as a European ally unfairly wrenched from the EU and maligned during the ensuing negotiations.

There is no doubt that, for Scotland, the real fight is still to be had, but there are murmurs to suggest that the rematch may see one side with more support in the stands than during the last bout. It is difficult to predict how this could play upon the judge’s scorecards.

French statesman and one of the founding fathers of the European community Robert Schumann famously said in 1950 that “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto
solidarity”. The word from the continent suggests that Britain, once a proponent of this solidarity, will not be easily forgiven for forsaking it. 

Tommy Sheppard MP, SNP member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

The National:

“Any time we discuss the situation there [at the Council of Europe] it is met with disbelief. They find it bizarre. I don’t think they can comprehend Brexit from a European mindset. It has opened hearts and minds to the idea of Scottish independence across the political spectrum.

“There is a general awareness that there is a completely different political perspective in Scotland.”

Poul Hoi, UK correspondent, Berlingske

“This is just my analysis, but I think the Danish position on Scotland has changed since the 2014 referendum or is undergoing change.

“Back then the official and popular Danish opinion was pro-Union. One reason was – to paraphrase Alan Bennett – that at the time it was just one flipping thing after another in the world, and a continuation of the Union seemed to be the safest bet. Another reason was Scotland is seen as the most progressive part of the United Kingdom, and the UK without Scotland would just be a much more conservative place.

READ MORE: Mundell: It wouldn't be fair to let Scots vote on indyref2

“This has changed quite a bit, in my opinion, because the EU-process has been eye-opening. British diplomacy and expertise have always been highly rated in Brussels, it almost always punched above its weight, but for the last two years it has been a downward spiral. And the view of British politics even more so. Danes – generally speaking – see a UK Government taken hostage by hardcore Brexiteers and the doctrinaires of the DUP.

“My own newspaper is a liberal-conservative newspaper and our leader the other day more-or-less-said that the EU had to cut its losses on the whole UK process and not let itself be dragged around by the neuroses of the Tory party.

“I think that most Danes would understand and be supportive, if Scotland at the end of all this said: ‘This is not in my name, this is now who we are in Scotland, and we belong to Europe, politically, culturally and in every way.’”

Terry Reintke MEP, The Greens, European Free Alliance

“I must admit, when she pulled the vote it was a surprise. I wouldn’t have thought that she would have done that. I thought here would be the opportunity for parliament to at least position themselves – perhaps I underestimated the situation in that sense.

“Most people in Europe weren’t happy with the outcome of the referendum. Everybody tried to come up with a deal for both sides and I think that Theresa May made a lot of promises to a lot of different people before she got into the negotiations. She then didn’t get a majority in Parliament which is of course frustrating for everybody on the European side.

READ MORE: Scotland has just been airbrushed from the Brexit process

“If her strategy is to get her deal renegotiated then the outcome of the council made it pretty clear that’s not going to happen. She’s trying to create this spin where it’s either this deal or no deal. It’s a dangerous strategy and if she hadn’t said things that would never have become a reality it may have been easier for her to find a majority inside of the British Parliament.

“I think it is clear that the Scottish Government and a lot of the Scottish people do not feel represented by the British Government in these negotiations at all. I think this, alongside the other arguments gives a lot of reason to give the people another chance to ask if they really want this. They should be asked if this is what they want and, following the decision by the European Court of Justice, to revoke the decision because as we have seen it has left the British Government, the British Parliament and British politics in an absolute dead end.

“What we wanted to do with the letter was, if Scotland became an independent country before Brexit, we would be more than happy to welcome Scotland as a member of the EU, and if it happens at any other point to make it as easy as possible and to keep the door open for Scotland to stay. Two out of three people in Scotland voted Remain so I think they should be given the chance to be heard in this whole process. My impression is they don’t feel represented in negotiations.

“I think that what we are seeing right now is not isolated. We are seeing similar developments, divisive rhetoric, divisive movements and populist movements across Europe. With the upcoming elections it will be important to say on the one hand we must defend this project and stand united but also acknowledging that there are also reforms which have to be done. There has to be credible answers to the problems we have in Europe right now.”

Alyn Smith MEP The National:

“I saw a great Brexit analogy on Twitter: ‘It’s like saying I can’t wait for my wife’s pregnancy to be over so life can go back to normal’. It is exactly-the-same psychology with Article 50 – ‘we need to get this passed so that it’s a decisive moment’ – it’s the complete opposite.

“The EU know the problem is not with those of us who have been ‘Remain’, it’s not Scotland, they know it’s not big chunks of the UK electorate. They do know that it’s the Tories and that they need to deal with the UK as it exists.

“The way that May has done this, and the people she’s appointed – the resignation of Ivan Rogers remains one of the seminal moments. That was when the serious people checked out. The guy they’ve got now, Tim Burrell, is a courtier, he’s not a counsellor. They are being told to say black is white and they are saying black is white.

“On the EU side, they are saying the reason that the deal is rubbish is because the Government have tied their hands on this, that and the other. 

“The Government then come looking for a legally binding promise. It’s not serious.

“I don’t think most people in continental Europe are looking at this at all. I think it’s dropped so far down everybody’s radar. You look at the continental newspapers and the wider press – it’s just not there.

“This is not the priority that dear old blighty thinks it is.

“MEPs are getting on with the EU election preparations, the dynamics are changing on that pretty fast. We still have a chance to turn it round – there is now talk about a revocation of Article 50. No deal is not a serious option. 

“Leo Varadkar said it the other day – you can pull it back – it’s up to you. It can be done, it is far and away the legally cleanest way to do this.

“We don’t want to be asking people about independence yet. The first question is when and how and we don’t have the answer to that. 

“In terms of letting the sentiment bubble away – it’s huge for us. There’s a real awareness of who is responsible for this. 

“The EU27 perspective is that solidarity is more important than the needs of one member.”

Elmar Brok MEP, European People’s Party and chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs

“The First Minister has told me that Scotland will not take any further action until the Brexit case is closed. 

“I believe that people who have wanted to focus on their personal careers both in the Labour party and the Tory party have created problems for all of us and have not been focused on the path of the country.

“I see that they call for Brexit but they have no clue about what would happen until now. 

“There is no effective government, no effective parliament, there is only a position of a negative. I am really astonished about this behaviour.

“I think this is a situation where we have to see that the UK, the little Englanders, are not interested at all in the situation for other parts of the United Kingdom. 

“We should see that this game is unfair for everyone else in the United Kingdom and in the EU. 

“We see very well that Scotland has a very positive perspective towards Europe so Scotland has a lot of sympathy in Brussels and in the European Parliament.

“I have the feeling that a small circle of people in London see themselves as the centre of the world.

“That must be as frustrating for Scotland as it is for us.”

Thorhildur Sunna Aevarsdottir MP, Pirate Party, Iceland

“I think the general atmosphere in Iceland is that they think Brexit is a travesty ... they are quite worried about it. 

“I think they are hoping for a second referendum albeit it is unlikely. 

“Our foreign minister has a strange stance and said there were opportunities in it in terms of trading. 

“People were quite shocked by this and I don’t think we have any ability to invite Britain into the EFTA.

“I think in general, the Icelandic public is quite sympathetic to Scotland. We ourselves have been part of a higher power so to speak. 

“We looked towards Scotland’s fight for independence with a lot of sympathy and admiration.

“I think that our attitude towards Scotland is different because Britain voted Brexit and has been discrediting and undermining of the EU for quite a while. 

“We have not got the same type of attitude from Scotland. We obviously think differently of a country that has wanted to remain and reaffirm the values of the European collaboration. 

“I feel Britain has been sabotaging this collaborative project for years without clear motivation.

“Our attitudes towards the EU are significantly more positive than Britain. In particular, we enjoy free movement and the privilege to be able to live and work anywhere in Europe. 

“We are happy to be part of the European project and of Schengen as well. It seems odd to me that Britain is one of the few European countries where I have to show my passport.”

Angus Robertson, former SNP leader at Westminster

The National:

“The really important thing to remember is that in 2014 people [in Europe] didn’t get the why of Yes. People may have understood the history but would have struggled to understand. 

“That was the default position of most of the liberal democratic types.

“Now, they have a really simple reason to understand why it would be better. We voted to remain in Europe.”

Writing exclusively for the The National last week, Robertson said: “After the Tories ditched the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal, the front page of The National reported the current mess with the headline: “Cowardice, Shambolic, Disaster, Failure, Shameful, Incompetent, Clusterbourach.” 

The splash featured in a paper review on German TV, perfectly illustrating the UK Brexit chaos.

“As somebody who grew up bilingually as a half-German, half-Scot, it helps to be able to speak the language.

“Germans are literally incredulous about what is going on in the UK, and this has led to changing views towards Scottish independence.”

Jeremy Cliffe, Charlemagne columnist, The Economist

“I reported on the Scottish referendum in 2014 and opposed independence in my writing. 

“These days I tend to think Scotland would be better off separate.”

Jordi Xucla MP, Partit Democrata Europeu Catala

“Scotland has a clear pro-European vocation as demonstrated by its overwhelming vote in favour of staying in the EU following the referendum.

“Although Brexit undermines both Europe and UK, Brexit is a great opportunity for Scotland’s strong national identity and political process to advance and to continue to ensure that the voice of Scots are heard.

“If Scots want to stay in the EU single market and customs union – which is wise – this presents a major opportunity to relaunch legitimate aspirations for a free and sovereign Scotland. Scotland should be given the same opportunity as Northern Ireland.”