Prime Minister Theresa May will make a personal plea to France’s Emmanuel Macron in Paris today not to veto her request for a further delay to Brexit. Mrs May will also hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to try and bolster support for her request to delay Brexit until June 30. EU leaders will be under pressure to decide whether to grant Britain another delay, a decision that can be vetoed by any of the other 27 member states.
But France 24’s Catherine Nicholson said the French President is set to take a hard line against the UK at an EU summit on Wednesday over fears the Brexit deadlock is destabilising the EU.
She told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “Emmanuel Macron, he keeps repeating that it’s Europe’s interests that really has to come first here.
“He really has sold himself as Mr Europe and that’s the message that he keeps pushing.”
President Macron could demand there be no extension of the Article 50 process unless the Prime Minister signs up to binding commitments to stand aside from the EU decision-making process.
Whereas Max Hoffman, who is Bureau Chief at Deutsche Welle in Brussels, said Angela Merkel is likely to be more patient than any other EU leader.
Mr Hoffman added: “Angela Merkel is most likely one of those willing to have the most patience with the UK Government.
“She has repeatedly said that there is still time.
“And I have no doubt, just like many colleagues here in Brussels, that she will try and up until the last minute to avoid a no deal Brexit.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned it is “crucial to know when and on what basis the UK will ratify the Withdrawal Agreement” as the EU considers Mrs May’s request to delay.
Britain will leave the EU at 10pm on Friday if not Brexit extension is granted.
As a result of the extension, Theresa May has been forced to find candidates for the European elections for six weeks time – one month after she said it would be “unacceptable” to take part in elections after the UK voted to leave the bloc.
While the UK is seeking an extension of Article 50 to June 30, it looks likely the EU27 summit in Brussels will demand the UK extend Brexit to the end of the year.
The Prime Minister’s decision to push for an extension to Article 50 and kickstart Britain’s campaign in the European elections in May has angered electorate.
The move is seen as defying the will of the people who voted to leave the European Union on the original exit date of March 29.
Meanwhile, Mrs May has been battling through a series of crisis talks with the Labour Party to try and break the Brexit deadlock.
The opposition party’s demands include keeping Britain in a customs union with the EU, something which is difficult to reconcile with Mrs May’s desire for Britain to have an independent trade policy.
Ahead of further talks on Tuesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Prime Minister has not yet moved off her red lines so we can reach a compromise.”