No more delays! Emmanuel Macron warns Brussels may block any further extension as Angela Merkel says Britain should not be pushed out without a deal
- EU leaders running out of patience warn Brexit extensions could be blocked
- French president Macron said it was time to ‘put an end to these negotiations’
- Irish leader Leo Varadkar stated his position clearly: ‘Plan B is No Deal’
- However Angela Merkel said to believe an extension could be unavoidable
Emmanuel Macron on Friday night led EU leaders in warning that they might block any further Brexit extension.
The French president said it was time to ‘put an end to these negotiations’.
Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar made clear his opposition to further negotiations, saying: ‘Plan B is No Deal.’
However Angela Merkel is understood to believe an extension beyond October 31 would be ‘unavoidable’ should Boris Johnson’s agreement be voted down.
Sources said the German chancellor argued the EU had a responsibility not to push the UK out without a deal.
Angela Merkel is understood to believe an extension beyond October 31 would be ‘unavoidable’ should Boris Johnson’s agreement be voted down
EU leaders were yesterday asked whether they would grant a third delay in the event that Mr Johnson’s deal is rejected by the Commons today and he is forced to ask for an extension under the terms of the Benn Act.
They are running out of patience having already seen three deals rejected by the Commons under Theresa May.
Mr Varadkar said: ‘Plan B is No Deal, and we’re all preparing for that, and we’ve all been preparing for that since the referendum, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
‘But bear in mind that a request would have to be agreed unanimously by all 27 leaders, so I don’t think any MP voting should make the assumption that there would be unanimity for an extension.
‘Our point of view has always been that we would be open to it, but it would be a mistake to assume that it’s guaranteed given that it requires unanimity by all 27 member states.’
Mr Macron said: ‘I am not trying to read into the future, but I do not think we shall grant any further delay. I think it is time to put an end to these negotiations and move on to the future relationship.
‘It is up to each and every one to make their own decisions. There shall be no delay unless there are major changes.’
Mrs Merkel is said to have made her comments shortly before EU leaders approved Mr Johnson’s new deal on Thursday night.
According to sources she told the Prime Minister not to tell the UK public that the EU had ruled out an extension. She is one of many leaders worried about being blamed for allowing a No Deal to happen.
Mr Johnson fielded six questions about whether he could get a majority in Parliament during a 30-minute Q&A, where he told the leaders he believed he could.
Mrs Merkel is said to have made her comments shortly before EU leaders approved Mr Johnson’s new deal on Thursday night
Several were said to have left with doubts.
A senior EU source said: ‘May had a working majority and failed whereas Boris is starting from a point where he doesn’t even have a majority. But what choice do we have but to believe him?’
EU ambassadors have already scheduled a meeting tomorrow morning regardless of the outcome of today’s Commons vote, dubbed Super Saturday.
A source said: ‘The idea is to talk about an extension and what appetite there is for one if the Commons says ‘no’, or set the timetable for getting the deal over the line if it’s a yes.’ A further emergency summit would have to be scheduled for the end of October for EU leaders to deal with any extension request. October 27 or 28 have been mooted.
As he left the summit yesterday, EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said a rejection of the new deal would create an ‘extremely complicated situation’.
Mr Macron said the reason the deal had been able to happen was because Mr Johnson had ‘moved’ on his original position and both teams ‘got into the complexity’ of the issues. He added: ‘Initially, Boris Johnson made some unacceptable proposals but then said he was able to move’
And Luxembourg premier Xavier Bettel said: ‘There is no choice between Brexit or no Brexit: it’s a choice between deal or No Deal.’
For months Brussels has said it would not re-open the withdrawal agreement or renegotiate the Irish border backstop in Mrs May’s deal, which would have kept the whole of the UK in the EU’s customs union.
Mr Johnson’s new deal replaces the backstop with arrangements which will see the whole UK leave the EU’s customs territory. Just Northern Ireland will stay in the single market for goods.
When asked if people had underestimated Boris because he had been depicted as a ‘clown’ by European media, Mr Macron added: ‘I never described Boris Johnson in this way, but I believe he’s a leader with real strategic thoughts, and those who did not take him seriously were wrong and will continue to be wrong.’
Mr Macron said the reason the deal had been able to happen was because Mr Johnson had ‘moved’ on his original position and both teams ‘got into the complexity’ of the issues. He added: ‘Initially, Boris Johnson made some unacceptable proposals but then said he was able to move.’