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EU leaders meet in Brussels to discuss small extension to Brexit process

EU leaders meet in Brussels to discuss small extension to Brexit process
By Philip Pangalos
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The leaders of 27 EU member states meet in Brussels today to discuss a request by British PM Theresa May for a small extension to the Brexit process


The leaders of 27 European Union member states meet in Brussels today for a summit that will discuss a request by British Prime Minister Theresa May for a small extension to the Brexit process.

"What is important is that parliament delivers on the result of the referendum and that we deliver Brexit for the British people. I sincerely hope that we can do that with a deal. I'm still working on ensuring that parliament can agree a deal, so that we can leave in an orderly way. What matters is that we deliver on the vote of the British people," British Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters.

At the same time, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.

"Our priority is to ensure that no deal is taken off the table and that there isn't the chaos of a disorderly movement next Friday. We'll be taking our proposals to the British parliament next week to ensure there is no disorderly exit next Friday, because I think that is the priority," Jeremy Corbyn told reporters.

Other leaders also arrived in Brussels, including Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, and the Irish Prime Minister.

"The European elections have to be held, because British citizens will still be EU citizens and will be entitled to representation in the European Parliament. You can only change that by changing the Treaties. We all know how complicated that is. It would even require a referendum in Ireland," said Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would be open to a technical extension of Brexit, but noted that there cannot be a new negotiation.

"If the United Kingdom rejects the agreement then we are being led to Brexit without a deal," President Macron said

"In the event the withdrawal agreement will not be approved by the House, we have to come back," said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Others pointed out that there are still a host of contradictions coming both from the British side as well as EU leaders.

"The Speaker of the House of Commons is telling us he doesn't want a new vote, it's Jean-Claude Juncker telling us he doesn't want a new deal. So the normal door to get out of the situation is nearly gone, so we are more in a fire exit looking to find a solution," said Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

It is expected that EU leaders will grant an extension to Britain, but with the condition that the House of Commons will make a positive vote on the agreement, as everyone wants to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

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