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News > United Kingdom

Only 58 Hours Left to Avoid a 'Hard' Brexit, Merkel Warns

  • A British protester demonstrates at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, April 9, 2019.

    A British protester demonstrates at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, April 9, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 April 2019

The European Union member-states are discussing in Brussels whether they will grant another Brexit delay.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday the European Union (EU) could approve a Brexit delay longer than the one requested by the British government provided that a "flexible" form is proposed to facilitate an orderly exit as soon as possible.

PM May Catches a Break, EU Agrees Brexit Delay With Conditions

"There are 58 hours left to avoid a Brexit without agreement. The German government maintains the objective of getting an ordered Brexit," Merkel affirmed at the German Parliament and added that "it is a historic decision [because] it is the first time that a member state is preparing to leave the EU."

Meanwhile, the leaders of the 27 countries of the European Union (EU-27) started Wednesday an extraordinary summit in Brussels to discuss whether they will grant another extension to the United Kingdom, given Westminster's rejection of the British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit proposal.

To avoid chaotic scenarios, EU-27 could even allow a delay of "months," as suggested by the German chancellor who would support the extension if there is a consensus among the community partners.

"Without that delay, we run the risk of leaving the U.K. without an agreement next Friday," she said.

In the photo: the first image of a black hole.

The German Chancellor also expressed her satisfaction with the "will" shown by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who visited Berlin and Paris on Tuesday in search of support for the extension.

While Merkel insists on the need to avoid a hard "Brexit," France's President Emmanuel Macron has maintained a firmer position and has made any extension to the presentation of an alternative plan contingent.

"France's idea is that the U.K. renounce its veto rights during the departure period so that it cannot oppose decisions which the EU-27 are going to take," Spanish outlet El Periodico reported Macron as saying and explained that the French maintain that “the longer the extension, the stricter the conditions must be,” a measure aimed at preventing “the British from putting the European political agenda at risk in the face of important decisions," one of which is the election of new EU senior officers and authorities.

The Brexit deadline was initially extended from March 29 to April 12. Last week, however, May sent a letter to the European Council President Donald Tusk to request a further extension until June 30.

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