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EU Parliament: Tusk and Juncker on Brexit, “the UK’s future is in the hands of the British”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

(Strasbourg) “Last week the European Council” granted a Brexit extension. “This extension gives our British friends more time to find a way out of the current situation”. In the meantime, we “will be awaiting a clear message from the UK”. European Council President Donald Tusk briefed MEPs in Strasbourg about the conclusions of last week’s summit, which delayed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU until 31 October. The extension “has a few advantages”: it “delays the possibility of a no-deal Brexit”; it “ensures that all options remain on the table”, including the possibility to cancel Brexit; and it “allows the EU to focus on other priorities” for the 27. Tusk made it clear that if the UK does not ratify the withdrawal agreement reached in November in time, then it will have to elect its MEPs: “In or out”, he pointed out, meaning that there are no half measures when it comes to a country being a member of the EU. And he went on to add: “on both sides of the Channel, everyone is exhausted” with the Brexit process. “However, this is not an excuse to say: ‘let’s get it over with’” since the stakes are high.Along the same line, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recalled, on a personal note, that 31 October will also mark his last day in office as EC president. “The extension granted by the European Council gives the UK all the time it needs to find a way forward on Brexit”, he said. “When I became president, I wanted to work for a more social Europe, to complete the Economic and Monetary Union, and to make other important decisions for the EU and its citizens”, but then – he said – I had to deal with unexpected challenges, including Brexit. “The UK’s future – Juncker concluded – is in their hands”.

 

 

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