EU’s Tusk proposes 12-month flexible Brexit extension: BBC | News

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European Council President Donald Tusk is proposing to make an offer of a 12-month “flexible” extension to the UK‘s Brexit date, the BBC reported on Friday, citing a senior European Union source.

The plan would let UK leave sooner if the British parliament ratifies a deal but will need to be agreed by EU leaders next week at a summit, according to Britain’s state broadcaster.

Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May held talks with opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday to try to plot a way out of the crisis after her EU divorce deal was rejected three times by lawmakers, including from her Conservative party.

The two parties are set to continue talks on Friday.

May said earlier this week she would seek a delay that is “as short as possible” to the current Brexit date of April 12.

This requires for her and Corbyn to agree on a proposal for parliamentarians to vote on before April 10, when EU leaders are expected to consider extension requests at an emergency summit.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox told BBC that if the talks between UK’s Conservative and Labour parties fail, the delay is “likely to be a long one”.

British parliamentarians narrowly approved on Wednesday a bill seeking to delay Brexit, as they attempt to avoid a no-deal exit from the EU.

EU watches and waits 

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the UK will not get any short-term extensions for Brexit unless its parliament backs May’s deal.

“A ‘no-deal’ at midnight on the 12 of April is now a very likely scenario,” Juncker told the European Parliament on Wednesday.

“[The] UK will be affected more than the EU because there is no such thing as a ‘managed or negotiated no-deal’ and there is no such thing as a no-deal transition,” Juncker said. 

France‘s new European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said that, while May and Corbyn’s meeting was a positive step, it offered no guarantee of a way out of the crisis.

“Theresa’s May’s call yesterday evening for national unity is very positive, but we have no certainty on what will be the outcome,” De Montchalin, who was appointed this week, told French politicians.

There were mixed messages from other EU member states, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowing to fight “till the last hour” to avoid a no deal Brexit, but others felt lukewarm about granting another extension.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Ireland would support a delay to the UK’s departure, but Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said there was currently no reason to agree to an extension.

British MPs back Brexit delay by one vote

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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