As the UK government struggles to delay Brexit beyond the looming March 29 deadline, the German foreign minister says London can still buy some time if it tells the others “what the plan is.”
“No one can want the unregulated Brexit,” Heiko Maas tweeted, saying he supports making “a lap of honor with a short extension before it comes to this.”
The EU “should not miss any opportunity to prevent [the UK’s] exit without an agreement,” but the delay has certain conditions, Maas warned.
The clear and concise message comes on the heels of a dramatic week of Brexit votes held in the UK Parliament. On Wednesday, MPs rejected both the deal negotiated with the EU by Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, and the option to leave the EU with no deal at all.
On Thursday, MPs rejected the idea of a second referendum and voted on whether London should ask the EU to postpone the deadline on leaving the EU, which expires on March 29. The House of Commons approved the government motion by 412 votes to 202, providing May with legal ground to request an extension from Brussels. But her Brexit deal is also facing a vote next week after being rejected twice by lawmakers.
There has been a mixed reaction from EU leaders to the prospect of the UK asking for three months or more to delay Brexit. President of the European Council Donald Tusk took to social media to reveal that he will be appealing to the EU27 members to remain open to the idea of offering the UK a long extension period if they need time to rethink their Brexit strategy.
But an official from the French presidential office told the media that Paris will not support delaying Brexit if it simply means revisiting May’s withdrawal agreement. “So it’ll either be a no-deal now, or a change of plan from London, of which we see no sign at the moment,” the official said.
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