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Leaked resolution reveals EU is preparing to grant UK Brexit extension

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The EU is preparing to grant the UK a third Brexit extension in October in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, according to a leaked draft resolution of the European Parliament, seen by Business Insider.

The resolution, which was put together by the Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, indicates they would support an extension, if there was a clear purpose “such as to avoid a “no-deal exit”, to hold a general election or a referendum, to revoke Article 50, or to approve a Withdrawal Agreement.”

One member of the steering group, Danuta Hübner, who met on Thursday with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit co-ordinator, said that the EU is likely to support an extension,

Asked about the prospect of an extension, Hübner said:“It has to be very clearly said for what. I think that would facilitate the decision on our side if we know that there would be elections, there would be a referendum, there would be [..] a deal and there is time needed for ratification.”

Hübner also confirmed that a European Parliament resolution at the plenary next week is likely to support an extension, paving the way for the EU Commission to offer one once leaders have signed off on such an agreement.

“We will probably support the request for the extension, but it would have to be justified. We have a new parliament, we don’t know how it will look, but we are confident that we will have the support,” she said.

However, Hübner said that the UK would be expected to continue participating as a fully-fledged member state for as long as it remained in the bloc.

Boris Johnson has said he would rather “die in a ditch” than ask the EU to delay the UK’s scheduled departure date from the EU on October 31.

But the House of Commons last week passed a Bill which means he is legally obliged to request an extension if he fails to secure a deal after a crunch summit of European leaders on October 18.

That has led to speculation that he will either resign, paving the way for a different leader to request an extension, or perform a dramatic U-turn and ask Brussels to extend the UK’s exit date until January.

France threatens to veto third extension

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before a meeting on Brexit at the Elysee Palace in Paris
Reuters

Not all member states are enthusiastic about the prospect of a third extension to Brexit.

The French government, which has taken the most hardline approach to Brexit of the 27 remaining member states, last week threatened to veto an extension due to a “worrying” lack of progress in talks.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, said the lack of realistic proposals Johnson had put forward were a sign it was not serious about talks.

“It’s very worrying. The British must tell us what they want,” Le Drian said.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, also threatened to veto an extension in March

Asked about the prospect of an extension beyond October 31, he said: “We are not going to do this [extend the deadline] every three months.”

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