The French president has reportedly been a vocal opponent of a long Brexit extension for the UK, whose divorce from the EU was delayed until 31 October, although it was supposed to crash out the bloc by 12 April. Some reports have suggested that he was “isolated” on the matter despite sympathy from Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
All EU member states will be able to hold summits and make decisions without the UK despite its extended membership. A “Future of Europe” meeting in Sibiu, is scheduled for 9 May after the initially planned Brexit deadline. However, the UK is still allowed to take part in the upcoming European elections on 22 May, which was supposed be after the divorce.
According to the website Euractiv, blocking London from EU decision making can be viewed as a victory for France’s President Emmanuel Macron who went against a long Brexit extension that “was not logical” and would weaken the bloc’s institutions “with a member who is there, but wants to leave”, in his viewpoint.
While some reports suggested that Macron was “isolated” on the matter, gaining support only from Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg, he refuted these speculations. He concluded that he saw his role as “bringing clarity” to a process the EU has never experienced before. He also branded the idea of the UK holding European elections “baroque,” noting, however, that EU member states will not prohibit the UK from holding EU elections. Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, Macron concluded “We delivered the best possible compromise”. However, the website EU Observer reports, citing its source, that EU diplomats were annoyed by the French president, his resistance to a long extension was inspired by “internal political reasons”.
“This summit is not about the UK, but about French internal politics”, an unnamed diplomat said, as cited by the outlet.
During the Special European Council in Brussels, heads of 27 EU member states, excluding the United Kingdom, reached a consensus on Brexit delay, requested by UK Prime Minister Theresa May agreeing upon an extension to the Brexit deadline until 31 October, giving London an additional six months to figure out the best possible way to break the withdrawal impasse. According to the EU Observer, three or four member states preferred a short period, while 17 countries were for a long extension.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May told a news conference on Thursday that Britain could leave the European Union before the 30th of June, adding that she has been reaching out to find a way to reach an agreement on Brexit in the UK Parliament.
Source: News Agencies