UK Prime Minister Theresa May has met with Merkel and Macron to ask for their support regarding the Brexit delay
Prime minister Theresa May was in Brussels yesterday to ask for a delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union scheduled for April 12. For two years now, Britain was scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but Parliament rejected the leaving deal agreed between the UK government and the bloc so the UK prime minister asked for more time. Thus, last month, the EU gave Britain until April 12 to pass a deal, to come up with a new plan and seek a further extension, or to leave without an agreement or a transition period to smooth the way.
As expected, May asked EU to delay Brexit until June 30 hoping to have time in order to secure, approve, and implement a deal. The 27 other leaders of the bloc gathered yesterday for an emergency Brexit summit in Brussels with few favoring June 30 and with a majority favoring a longer extension in order to avoid repeated crises every few weeks.
The prime minister also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and with French President Emmanuel Macron to get their support in backing her request to delay Brexit again until June 30. Angela Merkel’s response was that a delay that runs to the end of the year or the start of 2020 but not longer than a year is a possibility, while the French President wants to impose conditions on any delay to ensure Britain cooperates with the bloc.
European Council president Donald Tusk also believes that the ratification process of the withdrawal could be finalized by the end of June, but if it isn’t, a “flextension” could be granted. Which is a delay of up to a year with the possibility of leaving earlier it Britain approves an agreement. Further talks are also due to be held on Thursday.
Most politicians, economists and business groups believe that leaving the world’s largest trading bloc with no agreement could be damaging for the EU and catastrophic for the UK as it could lead to tariffs on trade between Britain and the EU, as well as customs checks that could cause gridlock at ports and shortages of essential goods.
Latest reports today say that the Brussels emergency meeting set a new deadline – October 31, and Mr Tusk said “The course of action will be entirely in the UK’s hands. They can still ratify the withdrawal agreement, in which case the extension can be terminated. Let me finish with a message to our British friends: This extension is as flexible as I expected, and a little bit shorter than I expected, but it’s still enough to find the best possible solution. Please do not waste this time.”