France: ‘Long extension’ gives British ‘extra time to rethink Brexit’ if they wish – Tusk

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European Council President Donald Tusk defended the recent offer of an additional flexible Brexit extension to the UK while speaking at a European Parliament (EP) plenary session on Brexit in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

“A long extension ensures that all options remain on the table, such as ratification of the current withdrawal agreement, or extra time to rethink Brexit, if that were the wish of the British people,” said Tusk.

Tusk added that the UK should not be treated as a second class member state during the extension period granted by the EU.

“UK members of the European Parliament will be there for several months, maybe longer. They will be full members of the Parliament with all their rights and obligations. I’m speaking about this today because I have strongly opposed the idea that during this further extension the UK should be treated as a second-category member state,” he stated.

President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that a Brexit delay allowed the EU to set out contingency measures, but clarified: “our Union has nothing to gain from great disruption in the United Kingdom. The only ones who benefit are those who resent multilateralism and seek to undermine the global legal order. And in any case, we will never kick out one of our members.”

EU leaders agreed a six-months flexible extension to Brexit after an emergency summit in Brussels last week, setting the new deadline on October 31.

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