Having grown increasingly impatient with Britain’s bungling on the Brexit process, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the UK needed to pass the Withdrawal Agreement by 12 April as no further extensions will be granted by Brussels.
Juncker vowed to continue to work with the British government until the last moment to prevent a no-deal Brexit, but he said he is not optimistic about a positive outcome at this point.
Addressing the European Parliament after British Prime Minister Theresa May asked for a short postponement on 2 April night, following a seven-hour long cabinet meeting, Juncker did not change the bloc’s position about sticking to the agreement that has been in place between the two parties for months. He also said that the EU will not kick out the UK and vowed to “do everything I can to prevent a disorderly Brexit and I expect the political leaders across the EU-27 and in the UK to do the same.”
May’s plan to cooperate with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to break the deadlock in the House of Commons resulted in many Conservatives party members quitting and leaving the process of pushing the Withdrawal Agreement through the Commons in a lurch
Juncker’s much-anticipated response to May was that the EU-27 could be flexible but within a limited time frame. “In light of Prime Minister May’s statement last night, I believe we now have a few more days. If the United Kingdom is in a position to approve the Withdrawal Agreement with a sustainable majority by 12 April, the European Union should be prepared to accept a delay until 22 May,” said Juncker. “I believe, however, that a ‘no deal’ at midnight on the 12 April is now a very likely scenario. It is not the outcome I want, but it is an outcome for which I have made sure the European Union is ready.”
The plan, agreed by EU-27 leaders and May during a summit last month, initially anticipated that the 22 May deadline would allow for the legislation to pass. The 12 April deadline would give the UK the chance to decide whether the European elections set for May will to take place in Britain Now, The EU now believes May will now prepare for both the European elections and ask for a longer extension.