The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

Muscat one of five European leaders against long Brexit extension – Le Monde

Saturday, 13 April 2019, 10:00 Last update: about 4 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was just one of five European leaders who opposed a long extension to Brexit, according to a report on the French influential newspaper Le Monde.

Muscat was on the same side as French President Emmanuel Macron, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. The five pushed for an extension that did not go beyond 21 June, Le Monde reports, quoting a source.

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Seventeen other EU Member States, led by Germany, argued for a long extension, until December 31, like Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the Commission, and Donald Tusk, that of the Council.

In the end, a compromise seems to have been found, with the EU establishing 31 October as the new deadline, after the first one to be established, 29 March, came and went without the UK Parliament being able to agree on Britain's way out.

Following the decision early Thursday by the European Union to delay the U.K.'s departure for a second time, not much is clear about Brexit bar the certainty that the divisions in British society and in Parliament will remain.

The so-called "flextension" until Oct. 31 given to Britain to approve a Brexit withdrawal agreement will require the country to hold elections for the European Parliament on May 23 - provided the withdrawal agreement hasn't been passed by lawmakers by that date.

Few think that's going to be likely after Prime Minister Theresa May saw the deal she agreed with the EU voted down by lawmakers on three occasions this year.

The extension at least provides more time for May to break the logjam, though it could easily just prolong the national agony. European Council President Donald Tusk acknowledged as much when he delivered a message to Britain: "Please do not waste this time."


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