Ireland says extension of 21 months would allow 'rethink' of Brexit

FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney in Dublin, Ireland, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Thursday the European Union may offer Britain to delay its exit from the bloc by up to 21 months in what may lead to a "fundamental rethink" of British policy on the matter.

"If you have a long extension of Article 50, that opens up the debate in a much broader way to the overall approach that the United Kingdom takes to Brexit. That may facilitate a fundamental rethink, it may not, we just don't know," Coveney told RTE radio in an interview.

"If you have a long extension of, say 21 months to the end of 2020 - whatever the period would be - then Britain has a legal entitlement to have representation in the European parliament" and so must take part in EU elections, he said.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alison Williams)