The EU should be “open to a long extension” of UK membership if more time is needed for Westminster to “rethink” its approach to leaving the bloc, the president of the European Council has said.
The Financial Times reports that the remarks by Donald Tusk, which were tweeted on Thursday morning, “will bolster Theresa May’s warnings to the House of Commons over the long delay to Brexit that MPs should expect if her withdrawal deal is rejected for a third time”
Tusk said that during his discussions with EU leaders ahead of a crucial summit next week, he would “appeal to the EU27 to be open to a long extension if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it”.
The FT adds that this chimes with the British prime minister’s last-ditch effort on Wednesday night to convince MPs to support next week the draft EU withdrawal treaty of Britain remaining a member state for a prolonged period, and holding elections to the European Parliament in May.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) March 14, 2019
Sky News reports that EU Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans said that the UK should “get its act together”. Timmermans was speaking in an interview with Sky News this morning.
“All member states are watching London and thinking what do they want … so they need to sort themselves out,” he said. Asked if the EU would ever really say no to a Brexit delay, Timmermans says: “Nobody wants a no deal Brexit but just by saying … doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. “There might be a no deal Brexit even if they don’t want it.” He was also reported saying that the UK “need to get their act together” before the EU Council summit next week.
Via FT, Sky