EU's Tusk considering 'flexible' Brexit extension up to one year

06 Avril, 2019, 12:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson at the MoD base in Salisbury

Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Union on Friday to delay Britain's departure from the bloc until June 30, with the extension ending earlier if parliament approves her Brexit deal.

"A "no deal" Brexit has become 'almost inevitable" after United Kingdom lawmakers again failed to break the Brexit deadlock on Monday night (1 April), narrowly rejecting all four alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement.

Labour wants fundamental changes to the deal's political declaration, which outlines future UK-EU relations.

Britain is now due to leave the European Union on April 12 and, as yet, no withdrawal deal has been approved by British lawmakers.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a longer delay to Brexit "might make more sense" than the United Kingdom seeking "rolling extensions where there is an extension every couple of weeks or every couple of months because that just adds to the uncertainty for citizens, for businesses and for farmers".

Several of May's ministers have warned that a long extension will be the only thing on offer.

The first minister said: "The sensible thing to do in my view, and it seems as if this might be the EU's view as well, is to have a longer extension to allow time for this issue to go back to the people in another referendum rather than continue to have these short-term cliff edges".

"If a long extension leaves us stuck in the European Union we should be as hard as possible".

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Some, like French President Emmanuel Macron, have said they want to hear a clear reason from May as to why Brexit should be delayed yet again - a move that would add to uncertainties weighing on business across the bloc.

She said if cross-party talks with the Labour Party could not establish "a single unified approach" in the UK Parliament, MPs would be asked to vote on a series of options instead which the government "stands ready to abide by". She added that she remained hopeful that the agreement could still be approved in time for the U.K.to cancel its participation in the elections.

Ministers and Labour officials are holding a third day of talks created to establish whether they can unite around a compromise Brexit plan under which the Withdrawal Agreement would remain unchanged, but with changes being made to the accompanying Political Declaration on future relations.

In a sign that talks with ministers have so far failed to produce a breakthrough, he said: 'Well, we've had two rounds of talks and today we've had an exchange of correspondence with the Government. "It is frustrating that we have not yet brought this process to a successful and orderly conclusion".

Theresa May faced fury - and ministerial resignations - over her decision to begin talks with Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer.

And Chancellor Philip Hammond fuelled speculation that the Government may be preparing to accept a public vote as part of the price for securing a deal that can get through the House of Commons, describing a referendum a "perfectly credible proposal" in a interview on ITV1's Peston. In particular, it's not countenancing any changes to the actual wording of the Political Declaration.

The Labour Party said in a statement Friday it is "disappointed" that May's team is not offering real change.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "We have made serious proposals in talks this week, and are prepared to pursue changes to the Political Declaration in order to deliver a deal that is acceptable to both sides".

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