Thursday 11 April 2019

Brexit Delayed To Halloween: EU Leaders Agree A 'flextension' Until October 31 That Lets Britain Out Of EU

Mrs May told reporters after the gruelling late-night summit that she still believed the UK could leave the EU by June and gave no indication that she planned to resign as the EU imposed a Halloween Brexit delay
Theresa May has been handed a humiliating Halloween Brexit nightmare with EU leaders agreeing to a 'flextension' that delays the UK's departure until October 31 at a crunch summit that ended at 2am today.
But the Prime Minister was handed a slim lifeline with the 27 states adding a break clause saying the UK can leave earlier if she can convince MPs to pass a Brexit deal - but Brussels will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement to make that easier. 
The six-month extension will be accompanied by a technical review in June, dashing the hopes of the Prime Minister, who had begged them to postpone our departure only until the end of that month. 
Mrs May tried to appear positive after the summit. She told reporters: 'What we have agreed tonight means that we can actually leave the European Union before June 30.
They then shared the joke with European Council president Donald Tusk, who saw the funny side. He has suggested that the UK face a Brexit delay of up to a year
'I know that there is huge frustration from many people that I had to request this extension. The choices we now face are stark, and the timetable is clear. So we must now press on at pace with our efforts to reach consensus on a deal which is in the national interest.'
Asked if she owed the country an apology for not securing Brexit by now, Mrs May replied: 'Over the last three months I have voted three times to leave the European Union.
'If sufficient members of Parliament had voted with me in January we would already be out of the European Union'. 
But she added that she would she would seek more talks with Jeremy Corbyn today - but would not be drawn on when she planned to quit. 
The Prime Minister insisted she believed it was still possible to leave before May 23 and avoid taking part in European Elections that would cost the taxpayer up to £108million. Irish premier Leo Varadkar revealed that the UK would be automatically ejected without a deal on June 1 if it refused to elect MEPs. 
The election takes place almost three years after the referendum vote to leave and taking part will infuriate already incandescent Tory Brexiteers.
Mrs May said: 'I do not pretend the next few weeks will be easy or that there is a simple way to break the deadlock in Parliament. 
'But we have a duty as politicians to find a way to fulfill the democratic decision of the Referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward. Nothing is more pressing or more vital.'
The Halloween 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 2020, and France's Emmanuel Macron, who emerged as a vocal opponent to a long extension.  

Macron beaten down by EU leaders as he tried to 'humiliate' Britain

Macron leaves after punitive rules he wanted to impose on the UK failed
Macron leaves after punitive rules he wanted to impose on the UK failed
Emmanuel Macron was slapped down by his EU colleagues last night after calling for harsh exit terms to be imposed on the UK.
He was forced to back down after six hours of talks with EU leaders in which he fought against giving the UK the long extension to Brexit favoured by a majority of member states.
He had initially insisted on a delay until the end of May, with the possibility of No Deal if Britain had not resolved the Brexit impasse by then.
But after being rounded on by leaders at the Brussels summit, a compromise end date of October 31 was agreed.
The French president backed down only after fellow leaders agreed to insert a ‘review clause’ triggered on June 30 to consider whether Britain is keeping to its pledge not to wreck EU decision-making from within.
Macron had argued that the UK be stripped of its privileges – but early this morning Donald Tusk said: ‘The UK will continue its sincere cooperation as a full member state, with all its rights, and as a close friend and trusted ally in the future.’
The summit fudge struck a compromise between member states which wanted a longer extension until the end of the year or early next year, and those who favoured a shorter delay.
One diplomat said: ‘Macron was the only one holding out for a short extension. Everybody else was flexible. He was on his own and left isolated.
‘He was holding out for June 30 for a long time. The June review clause was a face-saver for Macron.’
But European Council president Donald Tusk gave Theresa May a glimmer of hope that the UK could leave before October.  
He told an early-hours press conference that the 'course of action is entirely in the UK's hands'.
In a message to Britain he added: 'This extension is as flexible as I expected and a little shorter than I expected. 
'But it is still enough to find the best possible solution. Please don't waste this time.'   
He said Britain still had all the options on Brexit available during the extension, from approving the stalled divorce deal, to changing its leave strategy to cancelling the departure altogether.   
Leo Varadkar tweeted: 'We'll take stock of situation at our regular summit in June ... UK to take part in (European Elections) or must leave on June 1st without a deal.' 
The flextension also raises serious question about whether Mrs May will be in office to oversee Brexit, with mutinous MPs demanding she quit as soon as possible and senior figures already swarmiung to replace her.  
Reuters had earlier 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 is a rough half-way compromise between the two.
The Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat confirm the dates on Twitter, saying: 'A Brexit extension until October 31 is sensible since it gives time to UK to finally choose its way. The review in June will allow EU27 to take stock of the situation.' 
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.'   
The Maltese prime minister confirmed the October 31 date, saying the June review would allow the EU to 'take stock of the situation'
The Maltese prime minister confirmed the October 31 date, saying the June review would allow the EU to 'take stock of the situation'
Via - Dailymail

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