EU Agrees to Delay Brexit Until Oct. 31, Review in June
11 April, 2019, 04:55 | Author: Emmett Rice
Almost two weeks after Britain was supposed to leave the European Union, the weakest British prime minister in a generation said she feared Brexit might never happen as she battles to get a divorce deal ratified by a divided parliament.
Nigel Farage will travel to Coventry on Friday - the day the first Brexit extension was scheduled to expire - to officially launch the Brexit Party, with party chiefs revealing they are planning to contest every seat across the United Kingdom, in order to give voters the chance to "fight back against the betrayal of democracy".
Germany, France, Luxembourg and the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier favored a short delay of the date of Britain's departure in talks on the eve of a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels, officials said.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in combative mood, demanding Britain set out a clear path forward and dismissing reports the leaders had already made a decision to give May space of up to a year.
"We will deliberate over what kind of extension we want to grant Britain".
"What's indispensable is that nothing should compromise the European project in the months to come", he said.
If an extension is agreed, Brussels will portray it as a concession to Britain, with some members - particularly France - not keen to see the disruptive Brexit drama drag on much longer.
In a nutshell, while PM May is talking to the opposition, (Labour), to try to find a solution to the Brexit impasse, she is simultaneously asking the European Union today at an emergency summit for an extension of sorts.
In contrast to some testy recent summits, there were signs of warmth and even humour. But a drive by Macron to keep London on a tight leash with an extension no longer than to June saw the emergency summit bogged down in late-night wrangling as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others argued the merits of granting up to a year.
EU members want to ensure that a semi-detached Britain does not seek leverage in Brexit talks by intervening in choosing the next head of the European Commission or the next multi-year EU budget.
"The question isn't whether there will be an extension but for how long and under what conditions", a senior diplomat said.
"What is important is that any extension enables us to leave at the point at which we ratify the withdrawal agreement, " May said as she arrived in Brussels.
EU leaders will gather for talks with European Parliament president Antonio Tajani on Wednesday evening, before hearing from Mrs May. She has tried four times before and each time it has been rejected. She was called back to the summit around midnight to be presented with a take-it-or-leave-it delay until 31 October 2018, with the issue to be reviewed in June.
Every British initiative to get a deal has floundered. The two sides said they would resume their discussions Thursday.
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