Outgoing Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell – proposed by some for the post of EU foreign policy official – has accused the UK of being an insurmountable obstacle to his agenda for European political union, saying that he does not care about the UK as long as the departure is not chaotic.
Borrell cited Spain's successful socialist campaign in the European Parliament elections and gave an interview asking if Britain could stay after the next deadline, October 31.
Even if he rejects a large commission portfolio or is not offered, Borrell – a former President of the European Parliament – will be a big player.
His remarks indicate that Spain is increasingly prepared to accept a Brexit without agreements in order to achieve greater integration.
In an interview with the European Council on Foreign Relations, he said: "I am from the school, which believes that we will never have a political union with Great Britain in the EU. When it comes to political union, Britain is not a good member of the club, and they never hid us.
"We always thought we could talk to them, but the proof is in the pudding – they do not want it and they're just going because they do not want what they can see happening.
He added, "Personally, I do not care if the United Kingdom is leaving because I know that this was an obstacle to further integration because I want a political union."
In the interview, he emphasized the ambivalence of the EU states on the UK exit and said: "There are two approaches: The people who really do not want the British to leave and are willing to grant them any extension, are waiting for them to get fed up with the whole thing and decide to stay.
"And those who accept that they go – even some who may think it's not a bad idea – but are afraid of the practical implications of no deal because they do not know how to manage the marginal flows that new customs tariffs, the movement of people … All this is very complicated, it scares and they prefer … well, nobody goes to the dentist until they have to, right? And they prefer to postpone it to next week. "
He also explained his frustration at the lack of a clear EU foreign policy.
"For me, the Foreign Affairs Council is more like a valley of tears than a center of decision-making, because that's where all the open wounds of humanity come from," he said.
"They tell us their suffering, we express our condolences and concerns … but there is no room for action and we just go over to the next one."