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France: We are not opposed to Brexit delay, but a year is too long

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France: We are not opposed to Brexit delay, but a year is too long
Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron are due to meet on Tuesday evening in Paris. Photo: AFP
17:26 CEST+02:00
France is not opposed to an extension to the Brexit deadline, but would push for strict conditions to be attached, adding that a year would be too long, an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday.
"We've never been closed to the idea of finding an alternative solution to 'no deal' within certain limits and not at any price," the aide said on condition of anonymity.
   
Macron had previously sought to raise pressure on British Prime Minister Theresa May by saying an extension at a summit of European leaders starting 
Wednesday to the current exit date of April 12 was not "automatic". 
   
The comments raised speculation that Macron might take a tough line at the Brussels meeting, which would led to Britain crashing out of the bloc without a deal.
   
Such a scenario exit was "still a risk," the aide said, but was not "the favoured option of France."
 
The conditions for the extension would be in terms of length -- the aide said a year "seems too long" -- and arrangements to limit Britain's influence within the EU during the extension period.
   
These would limit the power of Britain's commissioner in the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, and the role of the British prime minister at meetings of EU leaders, the aide said.
   
"There would need to be clear commitments and then a mechanism for monitoring them," the aide said.
   
"There would be a transition period for the United Kingdom as an intermediary member, which is present and applying the rules but not taking part in decision making," the aide said.
   
The role of British members of the European parliament, for which elections are scheduled on May 26, would be more difficult because under EU treaties they could not be stopped from voting, the aide added.
 
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