Wednesday, 10 April 2019

EU leaders 'agree to postpone Britain's exit until 31 October'

Theresa May has reportedly been handed a humiliating Halloween Brexit nightmare with EU leaders agreeing to delay the UK’s departure until October 31 at a crunch summit tonight.


The six-month extension would be accompanied by a review in June, according to a Reuters source, dashing the hopes of the Prime Minister, who had begged them to postpone our departure until then.

The date is seen as a compromise between the majority of the EU 27 leaders who wanted to delay Brexit until the end of the year or March 202, and France's Emmanuel Macron, who emerged as a vocal opponent to a long extension. 

Reuters had quoted a diplomatic source who said Mr Macron wants to actually offer Mrs May roughly what she wants, telling his counterparts a delay past June 30 would undermine the EU.
The source suggested the French were being 'annoying, just posturing to show how important and powerful they are'.





They added: 'He is in a bit of a schizophrenic situation - (his) domestic audience demands that he is tough on Britain for historic reasons.

On the other hand, France is among the most-hit in any no-deal Brexit. It will take hours before we pull him down from his tree.'

Sources suggested that as many as 17 of the 27 had wanted a much longer delay. But the October 31 date would be a rough half-way compromise between the two.

The Prime Minister spent a little more than an hour this evening in a question and answer session at the emergency meeting before being kicked out while they decide the UK's fate over a lavish seafood dinner.

She addressed the European Council session in the Belgian capital after president Macron had warned her that he was 'impatient' and that a long Brexit delay was not guaranteed.

He appeared to wink today as he arrived in the EU's core - after being urged not to 'humiliate' the Prime Minister.

He was set to demand the UK is subjected to a number of punitive conditions with a Christmas deadline to finally quit the trade bloc, but also raised the spectre of a no-deal Brexit, possibly on Friday.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the start of the emergency meeting of national leaders he warned that 'nothing is settled', including a long delay, and he was 'impatient' to hear what Mrs May had to say.

'We must understand today why this request, what is the political project which justifies it and what are the clear proposals?' he said.

'It is 34 months since the British referendum, and the key for us is that we are able to pursue the European project in a coherent way.

'I believe deeply that we are carrying out a European rebirth, and I don't want the subject of Brexit to get in the way of that.' 

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