Ahead of crucial summit, EU leaders positive about Brexit extension

Brussels [Belgium]: Most leaders from the European Union on Wednesday (local time) expressed confidence in granting the United Kingdom an extension for Brexit ahead of the crucial summit here.

“If the Brits are asking for a little more time to decide, I think it’s right. It’s really up to the British, the British Parliament, the British Government, the British people to decide,” Arturs Kariņš, the Latvian Prime Minister said on arriving at the venue of the summit, according to CNN.

Echoing the sentiment, Antonio Costa, the Portuguese Prime Minister, said: “We need to always keep in mind that we need to manage this process with the goal to have with the United Kingdom a closest as a possible future relationship. And, that’s why we should agree to an extension as long as necessary for the United Kingdom.”
“My opinion is that we must do all that we can to avoid no-deal and to have a Brexit with an agreement … if we could prolong the period and if it is giving a solution, then, of course, Estonia supports it,” Jüri Ratas, the Estonian Prime Minister told reporters here.

However, the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and French President Emmanuel Macron voiced a few concerns regarding the extension.

“In my view, nothing should be taken for granted. Nothing,” Macron told reporters upon arriving at the venue.
“I hear rumours of a long extension. We must understand the reasons behind the request, what is the political project that justifies it and what are the clear proposals,” he said.

“It’s time for decisions,” he lastly added.

Rasmussen, meanwhile, demanded to know the “added value” to the extension.

“I’m open to discussing a ‘flextension’ to the end of the year, but … she didn’t ask for that … I’m willing to offer it personally. But, the big question is, is there any added value linked to a longer extension? And I think that’s what we have to find out during our consultation with Theresa May at the beginning of the meeting,” the Danish Prime Minister said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, however, highlighted that the UK is seeking for an extension until June 30 only. “I’ve been clear that the UK’s request is for an extension to the 30th of June,” she said ahead of the summit.
While May has reiterated her resolve to honour the 2016 referendum, calls for a second referendum on the exit are at an all-time high in the United Kingdom in the wake of the Brexit deadlock.

The UK is set to leave the EU on April 12 as per the last extension by the bloc, after the British Parliament rejected the Withdrawal Agreement for the third time.

The British Prime Minister’s talks with the Opposition seemed to have made no headway, as ambiguity regarding the terms on which the UK will leave the EU, continue to exist, as April 12 draws nearer.