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EU’s Tusk proposes granting Brexit extension of ‘no longer than one year’ | All Charts News - breaking news english

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Date created : 09/04/2019 – 19:51Latest update : 09/04/2019 – 21:13

EU Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday urged the bloc’s leaders to allow Britain to delay Brexit for up to a year as London and Brussels scramble to avoid a chaotic “no deal” exit on Friday.

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Prime Minister Theresa May has asked for Brexit to be postponed to June 30 but Tusk said the evidence of recent months gave “little reason to believe” that divided British lawmakers would ratify the divorce deal by then.

“This is why I believe we should also discuss an alternative, longer extension,” Tusk wrote, in a letter inviting EU leaders to the emergency Brexit summit he will host in Brussels on Wednesday.

“One possibility would be a flexible extension, which would last only as long as necessary and no longer than one year, as beyond that date we will need to decide unanimously on some key European projects.”

Under this so-called “flextension” arrangement, Britain could leave the bloc as soon as parliament ratified the withdrawal agreement.

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“Importantly, a long extension would provide more certainty and predictability by removing the threat of constantly shifting cliff-edge dates,” Tusk wrote.

“Furthermore, in the event of a continued stalemate, such a longer extension would allow the UK to rethink its Brexit strategy.”

Strict conditions

May made a whirlwind tour of Berlin and Paris on Tuesday to plead with Europe’s key powerbrokers for more time to try to get her divorce deal approved by lawmakers — who have already voted it down three times.

To answer fears Britain could exploit a long delay to disrupt EU budget planning and reforms as a way to try to win further Brexit concessions, Tusk recommended any postponement come with strict conditions.

These would include no reopening of the near 600-page withdrawal agreement signed by May and EU leaders in November and a promise from London that it would maintain “sincere cooperation” during the extension.

Earlier on Tuesday, an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron said France was not opposed to extending the Brexit deadline but would push for strict conditions to be attached, adding that a year would be “too long”.

“We’ve never been closed to the idea of finding an alternative solution to ‘no deal’ within certain limits and not at any price,” the aide said on condition of anonymity.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a more conciliatory approach. A source from her CDU party quoted her as telling lawmakers on Tuesday that extending the Brexit deadline “to early 2020” was a possibility.

“I will do everything in order to prevent a no-deal Brexit,” Merkel said on Friday.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

May faces tough battle in UK Parliament

May is hoping the extra time, if granted by EU leaders, will enable her to finally get a divorce deal through parliament.

More than a week after Britain was originally supposed to leave the EU, May, the weakest British prime minister in a generation, has said she fears Brexit might never happen as she battles to get a divorce deal ratified by a divided parliament.

The 2016 referendum revealed a United Kingdom split over much more than EU membership, and has sparked impassioned debate about everything from secession and immigration to capitalism, empire and what it means to be British.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)