Monday 19 August 2019

Expected new Commission President open to Brexit extension

Needs 376 votes: German politician Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Needs 376 votes: German politician Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE likely incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said she will support an extension to the Brexit deadline if there are "good reasons" for it to happen.

The current date for the UK to leave the European Union is October 31, 2019.

Conservative leadership hopeful Boris Johnson has said the UK will leave on October 31 even if there is no deal if he becomes prime minister.

His rival Jeremy Hunt has left more wriggle room, saying over the weekend he would expect Brexit to happen by Christmas.

Ms von der Leyen set out her position in a letter ahead of tomorrow's European Parliament vote on ratifying her appointment as Commission President.

Her letter says: "I very much regret that the United Kingdom has decided to leave the European Union. But I fully respect this decision."

She adds: "Brexit creates uncertainty for citizens' rights, for economic and territorial actors, and for the stability and peace  on the island of Ireland.

"The Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the United Kingdom is the best and only deal possible for an orderly withdrawal."

She promises that if elected she aims to "pave the way to the ambitious and strategic partnership we want to build with the United Kingdom.

Ms Von der Leyen adds: "Should more time be required, and should there be good reasons provided, I will support a further extension."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has previously suggested that another extension can only happen if there is a general election in the UK or a second referendum on Brexit

Online Editors

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