Macron Says October Is ‘Final, Final Deadline’ for Brexit

Macron
LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that the UK’s due date of departure from the EU on October 31st is the “final, final deadline” and that there will be no extension.

Macron said in comments reported by Agence France-Presse: “I was always pictured as the bad guy in the room… I endorse such a role because I think it is a big mistake to procrastinate. I think this is the final, final deadline because I don’t want to have the new commission and this new executive to have to deal with this past issue.”

He also stressed that there was no chance of a renegotiation of Prime Minister Theresa May’s failed withdrawal agreement but, he believes, that the bill would not pass through the British parliament unless there was a second referendum or a general election to break the deadlock.

The French president made similar comments in May when he said that he wanted the UK out of the EU by October 31st to stop Brexit “polluting” the next term of the European Commission.

As it stands, the UK is due to leave the EU on October 31st with or without a deal. However, several of the contenders for the Conservative Party leadership have hinted that they may try to renegotiate better terms with the EU or even push for an extension if required to avoid a ‘no deal’ scenario. One such contender is Michael Gove who hinted that he may delay Brexit until 2020 if he is chosen as party leader and becomes prime minister.

Macron’s statements are not the first instance of the EU taking a hard line with Britain over any potential extension. In May one senior German MP, Norbert Röttgen, said that the only case in which an extension would be allowed would be if the UK opted to hold a general election or a second referendum on EU membership.

“If there were no reason for another extension then I would say even the German position, that we give time, has come to a close because a reason for extension has to be required,” Mr Röttgen said.

Meanwhile the European Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said that there were only three options for the UK: “A deal based on the agreement finalised six months ago; withdrawal without a deal; or no Brexit.”

His comments also echoed those of EU President Jean Claude Juncker who said: “I was crystal clear. There will be no renegotiation.”

Their comments are likely to sit well with Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage who passionately want the UK to leave the EU as agreed on the 31st October without a further extension and on World Trade Organization terms.

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