Brexit deadline could be extended if London provides good reason: EU


BRUSSELS: European Union leaders could decide to extend the March 29 deadline for Britain’s exit from the EU if London provided a valid reason for such a request, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

There has been no UK request for an extension.

“Should there be a UK request to extend setting out the reasons for such an extension it will be a matter for the EU to decide by unanimity,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing.


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned on Wednesday that time is running out to reach a deal before Britain leaves the European Union and urged the British to make up their minds.

“It is now up to the British to indicate what they want,” he told reporters in The Hague in reaction to Tuesday’s vote against Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. “We have a little bit more time, but it is really going down to the wire.”

“We still hope to reach an agreement before they leave at the end of March,” Rutte said.

The Netherlands, one of the world’s leading exporters, with close ties to the British economy, is highly vulnerable to international trade fluctuations.

“A no-deal exit is of course worse than with a deal. What the Netherlands is doing is trying to ensure that the damage is minimised,” Rutte said.

He added that Britain’s firm demands about how it leaves the 28-member EU meant that “this is the only deal possible at the moment”.

“If they were to move on those demands we could try to reach another agreement, but unless that happens this is the only option,” the Dutch premier said.