Published On: Thu, Sep 5th, 2019

Brexit news: EU refuse to offer guarantees for Article 50 delay | UK | News

Leaders are unlikely to sanction a third extension to the EU’s two-year Article 50 exit clause without cast-iron guarantees of a general election, EU sources have warned. In a boost to Brexiteers, signs have emerged that EU capitals are ready to cut ties with Britain amid growing frustrations with long-lasting Westminster deadlock. Brussels sources fear they are becoming the sideshow in a bitter domestic feud between Britain’s Leavers and Remainers.

An EU diplomat familiar with the discussions told “I think there is no extension at all unless there is a general election.

“Why would we? For what purpose? Being the background music to the showdown in London has its limits.”

Mr Johnson has been forced to beg Brussels for a further delay to the UK’s departure from the EU after a cross-party effort outlawed a no-deal Brexit.

He must now request an Article 50 extension, or any other date set by the EU, unless the Government reaches a divorce deal with the bloc before the current October 31 deadline.

Previously EU leaders have warned that they will not be forthcoming with a third offer to delay the UK’s divorce.

The EU will insist that any extension must come with tough political conditions, which are widely regarded as a general election or second referendum.

But last night Jeremy Corbyn blocked the Prime Minister’s attempt to trigger an election by ordering Labour MPs to sit out of the vote for the snap poll.

The Labour Party leader said he would not allow the electoral showdown until a no-deal Brexit is forced off the negotiating table.

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The EU’s chief negotiator told senior diplomats: “We are currently in a state of paralysis.”

Mr Johnson losing his parliamentary majority in the Commons has sparked yet more alarm that the two sides are having for no deal on October 31.

EU diplomats warned that the bloc’s willingness to consider an extension will hinge on Britain setting out a clear roadmap for how more time could lead to a positive outcome and legal guarantees that the Government would not disrupt EU affairs.

France is once again expected to lead the efforts to ensure the bloc is tough on detail if a request is ever made.

Amelie de Montchalin, France’s European affairs minister, today said: “It’s not because a problem is complicated that by diluting it over timed delaying it for three months without changing anything, it will be resolved.

“When I hear the British saying ‘Give us three months more and we will solve the problem’, we can see that another six months would not solve the problem, nor another three months.

“they have to be able to tell us what they want.”

She added: “We know what they don’t want but we are still struggling to understand what they do want.”

France’s Emmanuel Macron has previously insisted there are no guarantees that the bloc will simply hand Britain further delays to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Ahead of sanctioning Britain’s second Article 50 extension in April, he said: “Our priority must be the good functioning of the EU and the single market.

“The EU can’t be held hostage long-term by the resolution of a political crisis in the UK.”

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