British PM's early arrival in Berlin sees her walk the carpet alone

by Ben Pena April 10, 2019, 0:51
British PM's early arrival in Berlin sees her walk the carpet alone

That is not to say that the Brexit nightmare is over for the British or other Europeans, just that Prime Minister May's Brexit soliloquy is expected to end this week.

May is due to meet the German chancellor and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on the eve of an emergency European Union summit on the UK's extension to article 50. Those negotiations are ongoing.

Barnier said he had no information about such a plan, and a German government spokesman said the report was "without any foundation".

Speaking on ITV Good Morning Britain, Lord Howard said: "What I would like to do is leave without an overarching deal but say to the European Union "let's keep everything as it is for a year while we negotiate a proper trading agreement and then we can proceed together in a harmonious relationship for the future".

BuzzFeed News said it had seen a memo that is due to be discussed by European Union 27 ambassadors and officials before Wednesday's summit which sets out two proposals for leaders to consider.

The ministers discussed the bloc's conditions for any long delay, which include Britain holding European Parliament elections in May and committing to "sincere cooperation", or not undermining the EU's important reforms and institutions should it stay a member for longer.

Mr Tusk said granting the 30 June extension that Mrs May is seeking "would increase the risk of a rolling series of short extensions and emergency summits, creating new cliff-edge dates".

"The prime minister's deal ... has a lot of the very positive attributes that anyone would want in a relationship where we can trade freely with the European Union".

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Macron, the French President, is said to be "dead set" against granting Britain a long extension until March 31, 2020.

EU diplomatic sources I have spoken to suggest the prime minister may have officially asked the EU for a short new extension (until 30 June) as that was politically easier for her back home, whereas she believed and hoped (the theory goes) that EU leaders will insist instead on a flexible long extension that she actually needs.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in London, April 3, 2019.

Such an extension would mean the United Kingdom had to take part in European parliamentary elections, a prospect anathema to hardline Brexiteer Tories.

The passage of the bill represents a significant blow to May's authority, overturning the long-standing convention the government has sole control of the agenda in parliament, allowing it to control what laws are passed.

Ahead of EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg to prepare the Brexit summit on Wednesday, French European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin stressed that "France's position has not changed".

He refused to suggest areas where the government could cross its red lines, such as on a customs union, in order to meet Labour's demands and stressed again that the government believed numerous benefits of a customs union were already outlined in May's proposals.

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