EU could grant Britain short Brexit delay: officials
The European Union would be ready to approve a short Brexit delay should Britain need more time to ensure parliamentary ratification of their divorce agreement, three EU officials said on Tuesday, Trend reports referring to Reuters.
EU leaders have increasingly pushed British Prime Minister Theresa May for an extension of the negotiating time as they see no majority in her split parliament to approve the Brexit deal, and want to avoid disruptions that would follow an abrupt split.
May on Tuesday offered the possibility of a short delay to Brexit, drawing a largely positive response from Brussels.
“If a request for a delay of the Brexit date is submitted, it would be considered favorably,” a senior EU official said. “We have not seen a request but an extension of a couple of months would be relatively straightforward.
Another EU official said it was “good to see rational arguments being heard” in Britain. A third person, speaking on condition of unanimity, said this would be “in line” with EU thinking on how to get to a final Brexit deal.
EU and UK officials were continuing talks in Brussels on Tuesday to give Britain more assurances on the deal and make it acceptable to the House of Commons.
The EU’s executive Commission has said good progress is being made and that this work must be wrapped up in time for a March 21-22 summit, when the bloc’s national leaders meeting in Brussels could endorse any amendments to the Brexit accord.
Under the EU’s thinking, the summit - to be held just a week before the current Brexit date of March 29 - could also agree a short extension, giving May enough time to take the deal back to the House of Commons for their final approval.
Any extension would need to be approved by all the 27 other EU leaders and a clear limit for any delay has emerged for the bloc around the European Parliament elections on May 23-26.
The new EU Parliament will start convening from early July, meaning any Brexit delay beyond the end of June would require Britain to also take part in the election, something May spoke against on Tuesday.