Irish PM: EU Leaders Won’t Grant ‘Any More Extensions’

DUBLIN, IRELAND - APRIL 08: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (pictured) and EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier hold a joint press conference at Government Buildings on April 8, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. Discussions between the two come ahead of Wednesday's meeting of EU leaders with British Prime Minister Theresa May requesting …
Charles McQuillan - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that European Union leaders are feeling “enormous hostility” towards the idea of a further delay to Brexit, increasing the possibility that the UK will leave the EU in a clean break on October 31st.

“There’s very much a strong view across the EU that there shouldn’t be any more extensions,” the Irish prime minister said on Thursday in comments reported by The Guardian. “While I have endless patience, some of my colleagues have lost patience, quite frankly, with the UK and there’s enormous hostility to any further extension.”

He added that he believes “an extension could really only happen if it were to facilitate something like a general election in the UK or perhaps even something like a second referendum if they decided to have one”, the Irish premier continuing: “What won’t be entertained is an extension for further negotiations or further indicative votes. The time for that has long since passed.”

His comments reiterate those made by other EU leaders who have put a final deadline for Brexit as October 31st, including French president Emmanuel Macron who said that Halloween was the “final, final deadline” and the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier who 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.”

On Thursday, the Tory leadership contest was whittled down to two MPs — Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt — and party members will vote for who will next lead the party and become prime minister by July. Early in the campaign, Mr Hunt had not ruled out extending Article 50 for a third time if he believes it is possible to get better exit arrangements, while Mr Johnson has said that he will push for a new treaty, but is committed to taking the UK out of the EU “with or without a deal” on October 31st.

European politicians have also, however, ruled out renegotiating the deal — either by October 31st or any other, already ruled-out, extended date. German MEP Ska Keller told Channel 4 news on Thursday that renegotiating the withdrawal treaty is “not really” a possibility.


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