EU chief backs 'long delay' to Brexit

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 15 Mar 2019

EU leader Donald Tusk says that European capitals could approve a long delay to Brexit, in a last-ditch push to persuade Prime Minister Theresa May to change her negotiating red lines.

As president of the European Council, Tusk will be the host of next week's summit in Brussels that may be asked to decide whether to push back Britain's March 29 departure from the Union.

May's government plans to ask for a delay until June 30 if its parliament eventually votes to approve a draft withdrawal agreement already agreed with Europe, but twice massively rejected by lawmakers.

Tusk's support for a longer delay may encourage pro-divorce MPs fearful that a Brexit deal would "trap" London in the Union, to look again at May's proposed deal, which she insists is the best form of departure on offer.

But the EU leader's insistence on a "rethink" reflects Brussels' long-standing position that a softer Brexit is possible if May abandons red lines, especially her opposition to joining a customs union with Europe.

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