Paris: France said Tuesday it was open to a “technical” Brexit extension of “several days” but ruled out reopening discussions to renegotiate the deal reached between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brussels.
“At the end of the week, we will see if a purely technical extension of several days is justified in order for the British parliament to finish its parliamentary procedure,” European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin told the French Senate on Tuesday evening.
“Beyond such a perspective, an extension aimed at gaining time to rediscuss the deal is excluded,” she said.
Her remarks came hours after British MPs rejected Johnson’s bid to set a tight three-day schedule to approve his Brexit bill this week.
This effectively destroyed London and Brussels’ hopes that a treaty for an orderly withdrawal will be ratified before October 31, Johnson’s preferred departure date - implying an extension.
The premier immediately announced he would pause the process of trying to ratify the text he struck with European Union leaders last week, and said the EU should consider Britain’s request for a delay beyond next Thursday.
In reaction, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, on Tuesday evening recommended that EU leaders accept London’s request.
“We have lost too much time, we have found a deal and it must be implemented now without delay in order to stop the uncertainty which is punishing millions of citizens and businesses,” Montchalin said.
“We won’t change our position.”