France lays down hard line against ‘repeated extensions’ to Brexit deadline

France lays down hard line against 'repeated extensions' to Brexit deadline
French president Macron has always taken a tough line on Brexit extensions. Photo: AFP
France opposes repeated extensions for Britain's exit from the European Union, a presidential official said on Friday, sticking to country's hard line on Brexit.

France does not want to enter into a cycle of “repeated extensions” following this month's European parliament elections which Britain will take part in after being extended to the end of October, said the official, adding that London should “have a solution before October 31st”.

“We must not get sucked into repeated extensions, that’s for sure,” a French presidential adviser said on Friday.


Despite a cordial reception in Paris before the summit, Theresa May was not given an easy ride by Macron. Photo: AFP

 “Our message is clear: a solution must have been found by October 31,” the advisor said.

French president Emmanuel Macron has taken a tough line on the UK's repeated requests for Brexit extensions – to the extent that he has annoyed his fellow European leaders.

The UK has twice secured extensions from the EU to the Brexit deadline, which was first set at March 29th, the April 12th and is currently October 31st.

At the emergency summit in Brussels that granted the UK its second extension, Macron angered his fellow European leaders by taking a tough stance against the long delay that many favoured.

He ended up isolated, standing nearly alone, with backing from just Belgium, Austria and some smaller EU states, as he pushed to limit the delay to only few weeks and demanded guarantees that London would not interfere in EU business during that time.

Macron argued that a long delay could cause the EU damage, which would be worse than a no-deal. 
“The default position is no deal. Endangering the functioning of the EU is not preferable to no-deal,” said a source from the Élysée.
In the end, with most leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel backing a longer delay, British Prime Minister Theresa May was granted a six month extension.
In the run by to the summit, the Europhile Macron and his government had taken a tough line on the extension.
Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the French parliament: “A situation in which Mrs May is unable to deliver sufficient guarantees on the credibility of her strategy at the European Council meeting would lead to the request being refused and a preference for a no deal.”




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