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13 March 2019

POLITICO: Michel Barnier: Brexit extension ‘for what?’

The Brexit negotiation is "over" and the U.K. must now tell the EU what relationship it wants before asking for an extension to Article 50, the bloc's negotiator Michel Barnier told MEPs

Barnier was responding to the second thumping rejection of the Brexit deal — with added legal assurances for the U.K. on the Irish backstop — agreed between London and Brussels. The House of Commons voted Tuesday evening to reject the deal by 391 votes to 242. It is the second time that MPs have dealt a crushing defeatto the deal.


The Commons is now set to vote on whether it wants a no-deal Brexit or subsequently on whether to instruct Prime Minister Theresa May to request an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period beyond March 29.

"Prolong this negotiation, to do what?" Barnier asked MEPs at the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg. "The negotiation on Article 50 is over. We have a treaty. It is here."

He said the EU “has gone as far as we could” to encourage MPs to back the deal and added that "the U.K. must tell us what it wants for our future relationship."

“I am asked: Are you disappointed? My answer, our answer is: We remain respectful of the U.K., we remain determined calm and united and we will remain calm, respectful and united until the end of this extraordinary negotiation," Barnier said.

Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People's Party in the European Parliament, concurred, saying the bar is set high for the EU to agree to a Brexit delay.

“We don’t see any chance for prolongation without clarification from the British side,” he said, adding that “we have to create pressure on the British side to give us a clear idea of what they want to achieve.” He said he believes there is still time before the European Council summit on March 21-22 for the U.K. to give this clarification. “It’s not a matter of timing, it’s a matter of will.” [...]

Full article on POLITICO

Statement by Michel Barnier at the European Parliament Plenary session


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