Brexit: EU leaders say Britain will have to justify its request for extension
An emergency summit has been arranged in Brussels on Wednesday, where the bloc will vote on an extension.
European Union leaders on Tuesday held a press conference following a general affairs council meeting, where they discussed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s request for an extension of the last date for Brexit to June 30. At present, the United Kingdom will exit the European Union without a deal on April 12, as MPs in the House of Commons have rejected the withdrawal agreement.
Addressing a press conference, Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister George Ciamba said on Tuesday the United Kingdom will have to provide a clear plan to justify an extension, The Guardian reported. Ciamba said the European Union welcomed Britain’s commitment to hold the trading bloc’s elections on May 23 if it is still part of the bloc. However, he added that the present withdrawal agreement is the best possible deal, and a no-deal Brexit is still a possibility.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michael Barnier, ruled out the possibility of reopening the withdrawal agreement. Barnier suggested that the European Union may not grant an extension on Brexit unless May agrees to a customs union with the trading bloc.
The negotiator said a Brexit extension will have to be linked to its purpose. However, he added that the European Union does not wish to see a no-deal Brexit.
An emergency summit has been arranged in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday where the bloc will vote on an extension, BBC reported. May will attend the summit.
The British prime minister will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris later on Tuesday, to urge them to back her request to delay Brexit.
March 29 was the date originally set for Brexit, but Parliament has repeatedly failed to decide on the terms of the exit. In March, May had offered to resign if the deal was passed, in a bid to win over rebels in her Conservative Party.