EU's Tusk says Brexit deadline extension a 'rational solution'

AFP , Monday 25 Feb 2019

Donald Tusk
European Council President Donald Tusk attends a summit between Arab league and European Union member states, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, February 25, 2019 (Photo: Reuters)

European Council chief Donald Tusk said Monday that an extension to the March 29 deadline for Britain to leave the EU would be a "rational solution" given political developments.

Tusk said he had discussed the legal and procedural context of a potential extension during talks Sunday with British Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the EU-Arab summit in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh.

"I believe in the situation we are in, an extension would be a rational solution but Prime Minister May still believes she's able to avoid this scenario," Tusk told a closing summit press conference.

May on Sunday called for still more time to renegotiate her Brexit deal, and suggested parliament may not be able to vote on the text until March 12, just 17 days before Britain leaves the EU.

With it "absolutely clear" to him there is no majority in the British parliament for the current deal, Tusk said, "we'll face an alternative chaotic Brexit or an extension".

He added that "the less time there is until 29 of March, the greater the likelihood of an extension".

This was not an EU plan but a reading of objective fact, he said.

Tusk said he told May that "no matter which scenario, all 27 (EU countries) will show maximum understanding and good will".

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