Hotel California: Tusk Pushes ‘Long But Flexible’ Brexit Delay Ahead of EU Council

Brexit
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EU Council President Donald Tusk is calling on the European Union to offer the United Kingdom a flexible 12-month extension to Brexit, with the option to leave earlier if a deal is secured in the House of Commons.

Mr Tusk offered the proposal saying, “The only reasonable way out would be a long but flexible extension. I would call it a ‘flextension’.”

He added, “How would it work in practice? We could give the UK a year-long extension, automatically terminated once the Withdrawal Agreement has been accepted and ratified by the House of Commons.”

His offer comes as Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking another short extension to Britain’s departure date, from April 12th to June 30th.

This would require the United Kingdom to stand in EU Parliamentary elections, due to begin on 23rd of May — even though Mrs May had previously rejected calls for Brexit to be delayed so long it would have to contest the elections, stating: “I think people would ask what on earth we were doing if, having voted nearly three years ago to leave the European Union, they were then asked to elect Members to the European Parliament. I think they would say that we were failing to deliver on their vote, and I believe we have a duty to do that.”

Other members of the government have spoken out against the plan to contest the elections, with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay telling the House of Commons: “To have European parliamentary elections three years after the country voted to leave would be damaging to our politics as a whole.”

Mr Tusk’s call may not be welcomed by all EU leaders, including French president Emmanuel Macron, who has previously claimed that unless there was “credible justification” for an extension, then one should not be granted.

Speaking this week, he suggested that, “Should the United Kingdom be unable… to propose a solution backed by a majority, they will de facto have chosen themselves to leave without a deal.”

The proposal by Mr Tusk has been met with scepticism from many, as Mr Tusk has a history of bad faith in his dealings with the British and has repeatedly expressed his desire for Britain to remain in the EU, despite the Brexit vote.

He has also previously demanded that the EU retain control over Britain’s waters for fishing purposes, and has even called for the British to abandon Brexit entirely, claiming in 2018 that “if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

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