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On the morning after British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was comprehensively rejected in the House of Commons, key figures in the European Parliament had their say on the latest from London.
Michel Barnier: Negotiations ‘Done and Dusted’
The European Union’s chief negotiator said the bloc can’t grant a request to delay Brexit until it understands the U.K.’s rationale for one.
Negotiations on the divorce deal are “done and dusted,” he said, adding that last night’s vote in the House of Commons “prolongs and makes worse” the uncertainty. “This treaty which we negotiated with the government of Theresa May for a year and a half is and will remain the only available treaty.”
The risk of a no-deal Brexit “has never been higher,” Barnier told MEPs, but he insisted the EU is ready for it.
Manfred Weber: ‘What a Disaster’
The head of the EU parliament’s Christian Democratic group bemoaned Tuesday’s vote, saying the situation in the U.K. was letting down young Britons.
Guy Verhofstadt: No Extension Without Justification
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s point person on the U.K.’s plan to leave the EU, said he would oppose any lengthy extension of the Brexit process, citing fears over May’s European elections.
“The European elections will be hijacked by the Brexiteers and by the whole Brexit issue; we will talk only about that and not about the real problems and the real reforms that we need in the European Union,” Verhofstadt said.
“Britain seems to be spinning out of control instead of being back in control.”
Nigel Farage: ‘You Pushed Your Luck Too Far’
Farage, probably Britain’s most famous Brexit-backer, remains a member of the European Parliament. He was in typically bullish form, telling the assembled MEPs that the EU should stand firm and resist any request from the U.K. for an extension to the Article 50 process. As it stands, no extension would mean the U.K. leaves the bloc without a deal on March 29.
Donald Tusk: ‘We Will Always Be Friends, Sophie’
The European Council president is never short of a pithy phrase at a solemn moment. On Wednesday morning he kept it simple, posting a letter on Instagram apparently sent to him by a British six-year-old girl.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Donald Tusk (@donaldtusk) on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:20am PDT
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