ANALYSIS: So just what is going on with the French and a Brexit extension?

As the UK asks for (another) Brexit extension and the deadline of October 31st is galloping towards us, it may be the French that are the sticking point.

ANALYSIS: So just what is going on with the French and a Brexit extension?
Will Emmanuel Macron agree to Boris Johnson's request? Photo: AFP

Speculation is growing that French president Emmanuel Macron – increasingly exasperated by the mess across the Channel – will not agree to another ling extension and will instead insist on a very short extension, possibly just 15 days.

It is now increasingly unlikely that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to get his Brexit deal passed in the House of Commons before next Thursday (October 31st), so if the EU refuse a Brexit extension then the UK could end up crashing out with no deal.

All 27 EU member states need to agree to any extension, so what France thinks is important. But will Macron really want to be cast as the bad guy in this whole sorry mess?

Political analyst Mujtaba Rahman, who has previously worked for both the European Commission and the UK's Treasury and is an adjunct professor at Sciences-Po in Paris, the London School of Economics and New York University's Stern Business School, says the situation is finely balanced.

In an incisive thread published on Twitter, he explains why the French position is complicated.






Macron is currently on the French island of Réunion. Photo: AFP













For more Brexit analysis, you can follow Mujtaba Rahman on Twitter @Mij_Europe

Member comments

  1. C’mon, Brits, 3.5 years to act on the Brexit referendum?

    Get the thing done already. I’m tired of hearing about it.

    And no more national referenda if you’re not going abide by them in a timely fashion–if ever.


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Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.