Paris: An extension until January 31 of the deadline for Britain to leave the European Union is “very probable”, a French diplomatic source said on Monday, as EU states were to meet to discuss a new Brexit delay.
“There will very probably be an agreement” at Monday’s meeting on the extension until January 31, said the source after new telephone talks on the issue between French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday.
The indication by a French source said that a three-month extension is on the cards is hugely significant given that Paris was always seen as the major EU player most wary of another delay.
Macron has repeatedly expressed impatience over the repeated postponements of Brexit, saying they are getting in the way of his vision of reforming the European Union.
“The conditions of the extension have been specified and reinforced, notably on the fact that the deal (reached between Britain and the EU) is not renegotiable,” added the French source.
“France insisted on the necessary conditions to preserve the unity of the 27 (remaining members of the EU).” EU sources have said Britain will also be able to leave on November 30 or December 31 if Johnson can get his recently agreed deal through parliament earlier.
British lawmakers are due to vote Monday afternoon on Johnson’s call for an early election to be held on December 12.
The French source said that the chance of elections in Britain — which could result in a reconfigured parliament and help Johnson push through the deal — had “clearly strengthened over the weekend.” The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, who oppose Brexit, said over the weekend they could back the snap elections under certain conditions.