Published: Thu, April 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Brexit talks: European Union leaders offer extension to October 31

Brexit talks: European Union leaders offer extension to October 31

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that she was open to giving Britain more time to arrange its exit from the European Union than the June 30 departure London is seeking.

The British Parliament has repeatedly rejected a withdrawal deal negotiated with the European Union, leading to the deadlock over Britain's long-awaited departure.

"Nothing is decided, " Macron said as he arrived at the summit, insisting on "clarity" from May about what Britain wants.

Macron has pushed for as short an extension as possible, but it's thought EU national leaders will take their lead from the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

"This is not our desired outcome but we are not afraid of it".

"We would be generous in negotiating that, understanding that the United Kingdom couldn't be a silent partner in such an arrangement - it would have to have a say in decisions being made", Irish premier Leo Varadkar said as he arrived at the summit.

Finally, if we failed to agree on any next extension, there would be a risk of an accidental no-deal Brexit.

Merkel, who met May on Tuesday in Berlin, stressed that it was in the "strong interest" of Germany as the EU's biggest economy to avert a disorderly Brexit.

Two European officials say EU leaders are offering to allow Britain to extend Brexit until October 31 and are awaiting the U.K.'s response.

It may well be a longer extension than the one the British prime minister asked for, but we will shape this extension in such a way that whenever Britain has approved the withdrawal agreement, Britain can then complete its orderly withdrawal very shortly after. "It is not certain what that would mean", Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said at the summit. "That is why the request today is to June 30 in order that we can leave as soon as possible", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Despite the vote to leave in June 2016 and pledges to the contrary, the British government confirmed Monday that it would be taking part in the EU-wide elections on May 23-26.

European Union countries have become increasingly exasperated with the political division and uncertainty in Britain.

"But I and the government continue to work to find a way forward".

But EU leaders are expected to offer a longer delay, with conditions.

But pro-Brexit British politicians have said Britain should be disruptive.

He also called for a "flexible extension" lasting "as long as necessary and no longer than one year".

"The UK would be free to leave whenever it is ready".

Arriving at the meeting, the German, Dutch, Irish and Luxembourg ministers made clear that a no-deal Brexit must be avoided. Importantly, a long extension would provide more certainty and predictability by removing the threat of constantly shifting cliff-edge dates.

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (L) gets out of his vehicle as he arrives ahead of a European Council meeting on Brexit at the Europa Building at the European Parliament in Brussels, April 10, 2019.

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