EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans has called for Brexit to be postponed. “If the British need extra time, we also need to know why, and as long as that’s not clear, Brexit can only be postponed for a few weeks – just to prevent a chaotic exit on March 29,” Timmermans said to the german Newspapers of the Funke Media Group.
“At this time, the British have to tell us what they want to do: organize new elections, hold a new referendum and only then can we talk about an extension of several months.” Out of a possible way out of the situation, Timmermans called Britain’s customs union. “Perhaps British Prime Minister Theresa May should listen to the opposition in the House of Commons,” the Social Democrats’ leading candidate for the European elections said.
“Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has long been suggesting that Britain leave the EU, but stay in the Customs Union, and that may give it a majority in the British Parliament.” The referendum would not stand in the way. “The British have voted to leave the EU, not the customs union.”
The British need to “change their attitude,” the Commission vice demanded. “It’s just not possible to leave the EU and enjoy all the benefits, and as long as the government in London sticks to its red lines, as far as the internal market is concerned, I can not think of an agreement,” Timmermans said cautiously on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to vote for the third time next week on the twice-rejected Brexit treaty.
“We will wait for the House of Commons vote next week because the only people who can give us direction are the parliamentarians in the UK,” he said. Timmermans said, “I would be happy if there were no Brexit, and the British have to decide how to do that, everything is possible now, Brexit would be the biggest tragedy in the history of the European Union.”
At the same time, Timmermans warned against taking any prospect of accession to Turkey. “It cannot be concluded from today’s situation that there will always be Erdogan and this policy,” he said. “I do not want to say to those in Turkey who still have hope for European values: you are never and never welcome – that would be morally unacceptable.”
Although Turkey is moving away from European values at great speed. “That’s why the accession negotiations are also on the ice,” said Timmermans. “But Turkey has been intertwined with European history for millennia, so we can not say categorically that you will never belong to the EU, it’s a step too far.”