BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says European Union leaders could approve a short delay to Brexit in principle so long as Britain’s Parliament passes a twice-rejected withdrawal deal next week. She says that if that doesn’t happen, another EU summit might be needed.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking EU approval for delaying Brexit from March 29 to June 30 at a summit starting Thursday. That request is complicated by European Parliament elections May 23-26 that Britain doesn’t want to participate in.
Merkel told German lawmakers that “we can comply in principle with this request if we were to have a positive vote next week on the withdrawal documents in the British Parliament,” but the EU must take care that the legitimacy of the European elections is ensured. She added that, if the withdrawal deal isn’t passed next week, “we will keep open whether there has to be another meeting of the European Council before the withdrawal date.”
Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to persuade European Union leaders to delay Brexit by up to three months, just eight days before Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc.
May will meet the 27 national other EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday, a day after she requested an extension until June 30.
European Council chief Donald Tusk says a short delay may be possible, but only if Britain’s Parliament approves May’s divorce deal with the bloc before the scheduled March 29 departure date.
U.K. lawmakers have already rejected the deal twice. May says they face a “final choice” between her deal, a no-deal departure that could hammer the economy, and cancelling Brexit.
But May angered many legislators with a televised speech Wednesday blaming Parliament for the Brexit impasse.